If you go
› What: Tri-Octaves Concert
› Where: Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 East Brainerd Road
› When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
› Admission: Free, but donations collected to benefit The Bethlehem Center
› For more information: 423-892-9363
Can you imagine traditional carol "Joy to the World" set to the melody of Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill"?
That's just one example of the clever mash-ups that will be part of the program at the Tri-Octaves annual Christmas concert at Christ United Methodist Church in East Brainerd. This concert is so popular that two performances are offered to accommodate the crowd: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.
The Tri-Octaves are three United Methodist Church staff members who perform together and have presented this concert for 14 years. The three friends are Willie Kitchens Jr., Michael Rodgers of Knoxville and Doug Richesin of Sweetwater, Tenn.
They have chosen "A Christmas Tribute" as the theme of this weekend's shows. Kitchens says it's a tribute to music of some of the soul artists who have passed away since 2000: Fats Domino, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston and Maurice White from Earth Wind & Fire.
"I've been taking one of their songs and putting Christmas lyrics to the melody," says Kitchens — hence the "Joy to the World" combination. It's not the first time Kitchens has shown such creativity.
"That's what people come to see each year, to see how is this going to work," Kitchens laughs. "I've been challenged by people who come up and say 'If you can make this song into a Christmas song, I'll pay you $100.' I always ask them to make a donation of $100 instead."
Joining the trio onstage will be a 10-piece band and back-up singers Barbara Kitchens, Karen McReynolds and Ethel Woods.
The horn section includes Keith Guilott, Tommy Ogle, Stephen Bearden and Trinity Sharpe. Three keyboardists will play: Sandi Asplund, Danny Sample, Darius Gates. Stanley Elder will play bass, Gretrell Watkins is on lead guitar and Daryl Kelley is the drummer.
Kitchens says their first set will include the mash-ups; after intermission, there will be an audience carol sing-along.
"After that we really pump the music up and have a real celebration. If people want to dance in the aisles, that's OK, too. That's what we close the program with. It's kicking off the Christmas season and we want it to be fun, exciting and really interesting," Kitchens says.