December People returns to World Theater Nov. 9 by popular demand

December People will visit CSUMB Nov. 9Kick off the holiday season on Nov. 9 when the December People – Robert Berry, Gary Pihl, Dave Medd, Mike Vanderhule and Jack Foster – make an encore appearance at California State University, Monterey Bay’s World Theater. The group has played to enthusiastic, standing-room-only houses the last three years and this year promises more of the same.

So, what exactly is December People? Something classic, something new, something familiar . . . but totally original.

The group is one part tribute band, one part radio sensation, one part traditional holiday music, and one part just plain fun with their hilariously sincere imagining of what familiar holiday songs might sound like if played by Santana, The Who, Led Zepplin, Sting, ZZ Top, Boston, U2, ELP, Queen and Peter Gabriel, to name a few. One critic called their first album, Sounds Like Christmas, “a Christian contemporary Spinal Tap.”

Each member brings a wealth of experience with well-known bands.

Berry, who came up with the idea for the group and is the lead vocalist and bass player, sang for the bands “3” and Ambrosia, played bass in the Sammy Hagar band was in the band GTR with Steve Howe of YES. He is the bass player for the Greg Kihn Band.

Pihl, guitar and vocals, has been a member of the band Boston since 1985, played in the Sammy Hagar Band and worked with Norman Greenbaum of Spirit and Sky.

Medd, vocals and keyboard, is keyboard player for the Tubes and has toured with Quicksilver Messenger Service and Alliance.

Vanderhule, drummer and percussionist, is the drummer for Y & T. Foster, guitar, is an accomplished singer/songwriter with three albums to his credit.

They’ve taken Christmas classics and made them accessible and enjoyable for listeners of all ages. Their contemporary take on each song sheds a whole new light on both the classic rock songs that influenced the music and timeless Christmas carol lyrics. Each song is familiar and yet brand new.

The World Theater is partnering with HIPPO FM 104.3 to help those in need again this holiday season. The performances will include a holiday food drive to benefit the food banks of Monterey and San Benito counties and the Monterey County SPCA and the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter. Last year, 2,000 pounds of food – for people and pets – were collected.

“You’ll be inspired not only by December People’s music but also by their continued generosity of helping our local non-profits,” said World Theater artistic and executive director Joe Cardinalli.

General admission seats are $29, discounts available for seniors, military, students and youth. A discount will be given to those bringing five cans of people or pet food to the theater on the day of the performance.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the World Theater box office at (831) 582-4580 or online.

The World Theater is located on Sixth Avenue near A Street on the CSUMB campus. Driving directions and a campus map 

WHAT: December People concert
WHERE: World Theater at CSU Monterey Bay, Sixth Avenue and A Street
WHEN: Nov. 9, 8 p.m.
TICKETS: Prices range from $15 for students to $40 for Gold Circle; discounts given to those who bring donations for the canned food drive
ORDER TICKETS/INFORMATION: Box office, 582-4580;

Photo: (Left to right) Dave Medd, Jack Foster, Mike Vanderule, Robert Berry, Gary Pihl.