LIMA — After releasing its first album in 1975, Mannheim Steamroller has become the top selling Christmas artist of all time. For Chip Davis, a native of Hamler, Ohio, and founder of the group, his love of Christmas music is rooted in his love of classical music.
“When I got out of college, I had a big fascination with Renaissance music. I discovered that many of our Chistmas carols date back to the Renaissance,” he said. “So I thought it would be cool to take some of the Christmas carols from that time and play them on traditional instruments from that time.”
Over time, Davis began to integrate a more up tempo beat and modern synthesizers and electronic music into these classic Christmas carols, giving Mannheim Steamroller its signature sound. The public bought into Davis’ vision right away.
“We were performing a concert and I wanted to see what would happen if I pulled this Christmas stuff out on people, so I did the second half of this spring concert with just Christmas music,” he said. “The people flipped, and I knew I had something.”
With the group now enjoying success for over 30 years, Davis now sees multiple generations enjoying the music.
“When you go to one of my concerts, you’ll see multiple generations together in one concert,” he said. “It’s become a tradition, and it’s family friendly.”
Concertgoers will enjoy a multisensory experience at the concert, with the group’s signature sound along with video playback and a tremendous light show.
“The show itself has six members of Mannheim on the stage along with an orchestra of about 20 players also playing,” he said. “There’s also video that goes with it that helps to tell the story, and then there’s synchronized lighting and special effects. It’s a nice way to kick off the holidays.”