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Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert features new CD

Published: Saturday, Dec. 3 2011 4:00 p.m. MST

Because of its popularity, Mannheim Steamroller will present two concerts in Salt Lake.Because of its popularity, Mannheim Steamroller will present two concerts in Salt Lake.

Provided by Sound Trak Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY — The latest collection of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music has all the hallmarks of classic holiday entertainment with 16 tracks expanded into a full symphonic arrangement.

There are familiar selections dressed up for the party and new numbers that are sure to become favorites, particularly the two versions of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." One is underscored by a haunting melody while the other has bells and a lighter feel.

The new CD, recorded in Prague with members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, will be part of the group's offering at the 2011 Christmas concert in Salt Lake City at Abravanel Hall on Dec. 23.

Grammy Award winner and composer Chip Davis told The Deseret News he enjoys creating new arrangements and touring despite its intensity.

"That's the job of a music composer and arranger, which means your ear is always open to the dynamics around you and what they may suggest," Davis said

Davis and his musicians have been producing Mannheim Steamroller music for 26 years with many of them original members of the group.

"Even the newest members average about 10 years," he said. "At one time or the other, everyone — crew, engineers, band — have had working relationships."

Davis said the Mannheim Steamroller organization is a "true family" and because they've been together so long, "things overall go pretty smooth."

This year, there are two traveling troupes — an East Coast and a West Coast troupe — to meet the demand with 90 concert dates throughout the United States between Nov. 10 and Dec. 30.

Salt Lake City is one of the few cities with two performances scheduled. The shows will feature the favorite Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with state of the art multimedia effects in an intimate setting.

Mannheim Steamroller has also teamed up with world-class figure skaters like Brian Boitano and American Idol singer David Archuleta for "Pandora's Unforgettable Holiday Moments on Ice," NBC's Christmas special that will be broadcast on DISH Network and DIRECTV channels during the holiday season.

In 1984, Mannheim Steamroller released Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. Already a multi-platinum recording artist through its Fresh Aire series, founder Davis decided to record an album of Christmas music combining the group's signature mix of renaissance instruments with rock 'n' roll beats.

The resulting album was a runaway hit and propelled Mannheim Steamroller to become the biggest selling Christmas music artist in history. More than 35 million albums have been sold to date.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 30 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@desnews.com

IF YOU GO:

What: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Concert

Where: Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

When: 4:30 and 8 p.m., Dec. 23

Tickets: $50-$100

Website: www.arttix.org/tickets/productionIf you go:

What: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Concert

Where: Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

When: 4:30 and 8 p.m., Dec. 23

How much: $50-$100

Website: www.arttix.org/tickets/production

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