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John Berry to perform O Holy Night concert at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville
Country crooner to sing classic Christmas tunes and selections from his new album Dec. 15
1208-GO-JOHN-BERRY-Christmas
Country musician John Berry will sing tunes from his “Christmas” album along with other traditional favorites at his ‘O Holy Night Tour’ concert Dec. 15 at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville. Proceeds will benefit Challenged Child and Friends.

John Berry ‘O’ Holy Night Tour’
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15
Where: Riverside Military Academy, 2001 Riverside Drive, Gainesville
Cost: $30-$40
More info: johnberrychristmas2016.brownpapertickets.com/

Country crooner John Berry will belt out Christmas classics and country favorites during his ‘O Holy Night Tour’ at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville.

Sponsored by Milton Martin Honda, the show will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at 2001 Riverside Drive. Tickets are $30-$40 and may be purchased at johnberrychristmas2016.brownpapertickets.com/. Proceeds will benefit Challenged Child and Friends, which supports families with special-needs children.

The ‘O Holy Night Tour’ celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and will make 18 stops across the country during the month of December.

Berry recently released a country album, “What I Love the Most” and a new holiday collection, “Christmas.” He spoke to The Times via phone about his personal history with Gainesville and what he’s looking forward to most about this show.

Question: This is your 20th annual Christmas Tour. What is it like to have been doing this for 20 years?

Answer: It’s hard to believe. It’s pretty exciting to be able to go out and do this tour and be invited back year after year different places. It’s always a lot of fun. It’s great to come back to Gainesville and see old friends.

Q: What does this benefit for Challenged Child mean to you?

A: What a great gift Milton Martin Honda is giving to the community to be able to support Challenged Child. A hundred percent of ticket sales goes to Challenged Child. It’s a very generous gift on their part and we’re glad to be a part of that.

Q: What can the audience expect from the show?

A: A lot of the songs are songs that people know and expect to hear this time of year, like ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’ But we’ve got some new songs.

We’ve got a new Christmas album, that’s a mix of things with some new songs. One is called “I Don’t Want to Rush This Christmas” that I wrote with some friends. That really came out nice, and I’m really proud of it. There’s also a song called “My Heart is Bethlehem” that we recorded 10 or 12 years ago, and we re-recorded it for this new album and freshened it up.

But we’re going to start off the show playing songs from my Greatest Hits album as well as my current album, “What I Love the Most.”

Q: Is there one song in particular that you’re most excited to sing on this tour?

A: There’s a couple of songs on the new country album that I really love. There’s a song called “There Could Never Be Another Love for Me But You,” which is just a beautiful piece of music that I wrote with (songwriters) Rich Fagan and Brian Mabry. It’s a real throwback to songs from the late ’40s, early ’50s. It’s just a mushy, “I love you more than anything in the world” song. You don’t hear songs like that much anymore.

Q: You got your start playing in the Athens area. Does it feel like a homecoming when you come back to North Georgia?  

A: It is. I love coming back. I’ve got a number of friends who live in Gainesville. I spent a lot of time there back and forth between Athens, Gainesville and Dahlonega. My wife graduated from North Georgia College (University of North Georgia) and she did her student teaching at North Hall. She lived in an apartment back behind one of the houses off Green Street, so I spent a lot of time walking up and down Green Street holding her hand, many years ago.

Q: Does every stop on the tour have a little bit of personal history for you?

A: Yes. It’s crazy we have so many of those. We have so many friends and we’ve been playing these towns so often. It’s just a lot of fun. The whole tour is that way, so it’s going to be awesome.

Q: What’s on your Christmas list this year?

A: I usually don’t have one. The Christmas tour is gift enough for me. I love just going out to sing. But we do have two weddings for our children within two months. My son is getting married on New Year’s Eve and then our daughter is getting married in February. 

Q: What do you hope that the audience will take away from this show?

A: I hope that they’ll grab a little piece of what they remember Christmas being like. Because it’s changed a lot in recent years. I hope it will take them back to a place that they really love. And, of course, my focus on Christmas is the birth of Christ. That’s the most important part of it.

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