By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
Popular Christmas music artist Mannheim Steamroller will make a special stop in Portsmouth on its 2011 Christmas Concert Tour for a one-night-only show at the Shawnee State University Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Tickets will go on sale beginning Monday.
“It’s a very special event. They had one final date open on this tour which starts Nov. 9 and runs through Dec. 30,” said Carl Daehler, director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts (VRCFA) at Shawnee State University. “Their Christmas music is probably the most sold of any album of any group.”
In 1984, Mannheim Steamroller released “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas,” combining the group’s signature mix of Renaissance instruments with rock & roll beats. Since then, the group has sold almost 40 million albums. Grammy Award winner Chip Davis will direct and co-produce the performance at Shawnee State University — titled “The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis” — with Magicspace Entertainment. The shows will feature the favorite Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with state-of-the-art multimedia effects in an intimate setting.
“The music is a mix of some very traditional, almost renaissance. You may hear a renaissance instrument like the crumhorn, which is a predecessor of the oboe, accompanied by a synthesizer. Or they’ll take french horns or a piccolo trumpet and run it through a midi-synthesizer. It creates a very easy-to-listen-to, and at the same time very exotic, very contemporary sound,” Daehler said.
He said the group’s music is iconic and is played almost everywhere during the Christmas season, and they will be recording a new album after this tour is finished.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Portsmouth area to land such a popular group, especially right at Thanksgiving, which is really a great time with all the people coming in from out of town,” Daehler said. “It’s really like nothing we’ve had at the Vern Riffe Center before. It will be a very unique experience.”
Tickets will be on sale at Ticketmaster (online and at all Kroger locations) and at the Shawnee State University McKinley Box Office (in-person, online or by calling 740-351-3600) beginning Monday at 10 a.m. Tickets will cost $65 for lower-tier seating and $50 for upper-tier seating. Daehler said special student tickets might also be available later if there are any still available.
“We feel that tickets are going to go fast,” he warned, “because they’re playing the Cincinnati area and up in the northern Ohio area, but nothing anywhere near the tri-state from Pittsburgh to Charleston.”
The show begins at the VRCFA at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.