HOPEWELL TWP. — Good golly Miss Molly, that's quite a lineup for the Holly Jolly Christmas Concert on Dec. 4 at Hopewell High School.
Rock-and-rollers Hermie Granati, Rick Witkowski, Joe Munroe and pop singer BayTay spearhead a concert inspired by the late-B.E. Taylor, the Aliquippa-raised rocker whose Christmas shows packed theaters for many years.
Returning from last year's Holly Jolly show are BayTay's singing sisters, Jordan Taylor and Sydney Taylor, the deft house band of Greg McIltrot, Rick Clew, Jim Spears and Dan Taylor, and the Holly Jolly Horn Section of Dave Bufalini, Jeff Davis and Matt Welch.
"Everyone in the band looks forward to this show every year and I think it’s special for the fans also because it’s always the first weekend of December and it’s one of the first things we all do in the holiday season to get into the Christmas spirit," BayTay (aka Bailey Taylor), the Nashville-based, Moon High grad and niece of Taylor, said. "I think everyone leaves the show a little happier than when they arrived and ready for the holiday festivities to begin."
The 7 p.m. concert benefits Aliquippa's B.F. Jones Memorial Library and Hopewell High's Music Department.
Tickets cost $20 at bfjoneslibrary.org/buy-tickets/
Holly Jolly Christmas returns to an in-person performance this year, after being virtual last year. Though people not yet comfortable with crowd settings, or who may be out-of-town that night, also can stream the concert for the same price via bfjoneslibrary.org/buy-tickets/
"Last year we streamed it and it went very well, as even people who lived out of the area could watch," co-organizer and rhythm guitarist Dan Taylor, brother of B.E., said.
The live stream audio will feed off the in-house sound mix, "so it will pick up that whole audience vibe," he said.
Taylor and co-organizer Bufalini point out this year's show achieved the double feat of landing nationally touring musicians Munroe and Witkowski.
Munroe, of Center Township, plays keyboards for Ghost Hounds, the Pittsburgh band that opened stadium dates this autumn for the Rolling Stones.
Witkowski plays lead guitar in Crack The Sky, a progressive-rock band with a devout following.
Witkowski and Holly Jolly bandmate Granati, the keyboard wizard for the Granati Brothers band, were regular members of B.E. Taylor's band, which delighted audiences with Christmas concerts at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Beaver Falls Middle School, the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle and other tri-state venues.
Taylor also notched the regional rock radio hit "Vitamin L" sure to turn up in the Holly Jolly Christmas Concert setlist.
"We do a little B.E. segment with maybe three of Bill's songs," brother Dan said.
"There will be a nice variety of music everyone will recognize, and can sing along with and dance along with and have a good time," Dan said. "We'll get everyone to the point where, as we'd say for the B.E. shows, you're feeling the love of Christmas."
With his daughter, BayTay, releasing original songs "and starting to Taylor-ize her own Christmas stuff," Dan hopes the Taylor family and its all-star band of supporters can expand the Holly Jolly shows to several more cities next year.
"It's a great lineup," he said.
Bufalini describes the Hopewell show as "must-see," adding it's a great way to start the Christmas season and what a way to donate to help many children for many years. The proceeds will be used to purchase new drums for the Hopewell High School drum line and children's programs at the B.F. Jones library. Rumor is Santa may be stopping by."
For those who can't make the Hopewell show, but are feeling the spirit of giving, there's also a chance to directly donate to fundraising recipients B.F. Jones Library and Hopewell High's music department through a GoFundMe page at bit.ly/HollyJollyDonations2021 As of Monday, $605 had been donated toward the $12,000 goal.
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Scott Tady is the local Entertainment Reporter for The Beaver County Times and Ellwood City Ledger. He's easy to reach at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @scotttady.
This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: B.E. Taylor bandmates, relatives & peers bring Xmas show to Hopewell