The holiday season has its own soundtrack; it’s also a season marked by a variety of reunions. KELOLAND’s Dan Santella takes a closer look at a local tradition that combines both, and the music and kinship become all the more special when you join them together.
When it’s sincere, music is deeply personal.
“It is literally a moment where people, I get to lay out everything, basically,” vocalist Allison Nash said. “I get to be so vulnerable, so open with people, and draw them in, and it’s a place where people are able to open up and just experience something more.”
Nash is part of Holiday Jam with the Hegg Brothers, which is on tour now. What you see and hear right now is from a preview concert. Jeremy Hegg says the purpose of the Holiday Jam is creation.
“It’s a holiday show that is meant to be inventive,” Hegg said. “I’m just playing songs I want to play at this point. I think this time of year has neat music, but you’ve got to do it the way you want to do it. We’re glad that people like it.”
Jeremy Hegg’s brother Jon is also part of the show, which takes familiar music and gives it a unique rendition.
“People recognize a melody that they know,” Hegg said. “And people recognize a style that they know. Now you can take a melody and put it in maybe a new style that they know. You can take a style and teach them a new song about the holidays.”
Take the recognizable Christmas song “Away in a Manger.”
“Which is a fine song, don’t get me wrong, but it’s an excuse to do this song by Bruce Hornsby called ‘Lost Soul’ that is very meaningful to me, and it’s fun to perform,” Hegg said. “The band sounds great on it.”
The common and shared becomes unique and personal, too.
“What we’re doing is songs that, a lot of them are songs that are well-known, and they’re just done, yeah we have our own, it’s just our versions,” Hegg said.
“It’s either a song you know done in a little bit different style, or it’s a style you know but maybe a song you don’t necessarily know,” said Andrew Reinartz, who plays bass with the Holiday Jam.
The Holiday Jam is about family, too.
“The thing that we also really love about this is it’s really kind of a family feel for us. I mean a lot of us, or it’s like summer camp almost,” Reinartz said. “There’s some of us that have moved away that used to live in Sioux Falls, or even those of us in town, we finally get to come back together and all get to share a stage and hang out again.”
“You look at the talent that’s put together for this tour, and it’s amazing, and it’s mostly folks that were from or somehow affiliated with South Dakota and the Sioux Falls area,” said Derek Hengeveld, who plays drums with the Holiday Jam.
“The Hegg brothers are just very dear to me,” Nash said. “I met them at the beginning of my music journey, when I was around 18 years old, so they’re family. I love to support them, I love to be a part of the bigger band family here.”
“It’s fun to perform music with people in your family. It’s really fun,” Hegg said. “So I recommend it for anyone.”
Live music is something felt, whether you’re on stage or in the audience.
“Find myself looking around, seeing all the talent on stage,” Hengeveld said. “It’s really, I’m pretty fortunate to be a part of this group.”
“I love to give people an experience whenever I perform,” Nash said. “I love people to feel where I’m singing from, where I’m coming from.”
The Holiday Jam also brings in money for nonprofit groups. You can find the show’s schedule here.