John Tesh, the former host of TV's Entertainment Tonight
, and the present host of the popular radio program, Intelligence for Your Life
, and lifelong musician chatted with Hudson Valley Parent editor, MJ Goff, this afternoon. He was in California, preparing for Thanksgiving, and then would start rehearsals for his upcoming John Tesh: Big Band Christmas
show at West Point's Eisenhower Theatre, Dec. 11 at 3pm.
(photo: Randy Licht, Borel Photography)
He was a little late to call, and apologized, saying he was "parenting." I laughed, and said, "As an editor of parenting magazine, that's a good answer."
John (he let me call him John!!) and his wife, the actress Connie Sellecca,
have two children, Prima, 17, and Gib, 30 (from her previous marriage); he let me in on his parenting style, "A friend of ours told us about contracts..having contracts with your kids. We write them up with our kids, and they sign it, and they get updated as we go." I asked if there was a facebook contract, and he said, "yes, our daughter gives us the passwords, and there are rules on what she can and cannot put up."
Anyone can call a family meeting, he explained, and shared this story. "When Prima wanted to change something in one of the contracts, she hired her brother to represent her."
His best father's day gift
: "Actually, they're the family videos they create about the year before...the things we did as a family."
Balancing his work schedule and parenting
: "Connie put her career on hold, and only now is getting back into it. I cut my tours down, and would not do the 50-plus dates, but rather 5 or 6."
His "a ha!" moment
: "During my days at Entertainment Tonight
, I did a concert in Dallas with the Dallas Symphony. I was playing the piano, and when they played music that I'd written, that they'd orchestrated, well, sitting behind a desk and reading a teleprompter just couldn't compare."
On his upcoming trip to New York and what he'd like to do:
"Visit Garden City, and stop in to visit my high school. I played with my rock band on the stage at Garden City High School. Maybe I'll ask the janitor to let me in."
On his Christmas show at West Point
: "It's not going to be a romantic Christmas show, but with big band sound like Artie Shaw and Bennie Goodman. The audience will be dancing in the aisles."
John is very involved in helping our country's veterans and through his IntelligentKindness.com
site works with homeless Veterans and helps feed and house them. "This show is very poignant for us."
Thank you, John, and and before our conversation ended, he said he'd like to say one more thing. "I like your accent." In my best New Yawk-ese, I replied, "What accent?" He said he worked on losing his Long Island accent by listening to Walter Cronkite and Chuck Scarborough. I replied that in my days working in a kindergarten class here in Orange County, there were words I was asked NOT to teach the kids to say, or we'd have a generation of kids saying, "wawter."
WHO: JOHN TESH, Six-time Emmy-winning composer, Grammy nominated musician and nationally syndicated radio host, returns to the stage this holiday season, for the nationwide John Tesh: Big Band Christmas tour.
WHAT: The John Tesh: Big Band Christmas tour will feature Tesh with his signature piano and vocals, performing holiday classics with all new big band arrangements, along with an 11-piece rhythm and horn section. The 2-hour concert program is full of inspiring performances and is a glimpse into how Tesh has sold 7.2 million records and speaks into the lives of the more than 12 million avid radio listeners each week.
WHEN: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM
WHERE: Eisenhower Hall Theatre
655 Pitcher Road
West Point, NY 10996
MORE INFO: “I grew up listening to the jazz greats with my parents when I was a kid on Long Island and I’ve always believed that the ‘big band swing’ style of Christmas arrangements is the most exciting way to present this music,” said Tesh. “It truly takes you back to the early 1900’s, when these arrangements defined our culture. The idea behind this new Big Band Christmas tour is to swing the audience so awfully hard that they must leap from their seats and dance in the aisles. It is our mission, our purpose and our promise for Christmas 2011.”
“Sleigh Ride,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Let it Snow” will be among the many Christmas tunes performed by Tesh as well as solo piano versions of “What Child is This?,” “Jingle Bells” and additional selections from his new Christmas cd, Big Band Christmas.
For tickets, visit Eisenhower Hall, or teshmusic.com for ticket sales and additional information.