The Van Lears bring­ing an­nual Dana Pat­ter­son Merry Christ­mas Show to GEM on Satur­day, Dec. 16

Calhoun Times - - GORDONLIFE - By Tyler Ser­ritt Staff Writer

In what has quickly be­come one of Cal­houn’s most joy­ous Christ­mas tra­di­tions, na­tion­ally­ac­claimed record­ing group The Van Lears will share their gen­rebend­ing blend of mod­ern rock and soul­ful coun­try mu­sic on the GEM The­atre stage when they present the 5th an­nual Dana Pat­ter­son Merry Christ­mas Show on Satur­day, Dec. 16.

The Van Lears are com­posed of lo­cal broth­ers Trey and Andrew Bent­ley, whose mu­sic has been pre­vi­ously la­beled as “what you get when two rock and roll broth­ers are raised by two tal­ented par­ents who are steeped in clas­sic coun­try mu­sic.”

The up­com­ing show at the GEM The­atre caps off a suc­cess­ful 2017 for The Van Lears, who have spent the year work­ing many hours in the stu­dio on a new project, play­ing live shows across the coun­try and pre­par­ing for the re­lease of a new mu­sic video. The broth­ers have also spent time as ac­tive ad­vo­cates for mu­si­cian’s and song­writer’s rights with the Record­ing Academy At­lanta Chap­ter and var­i­ous U.S. Sen­a­tors and Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and helped craft a bill that was re­cently passed in D.C.

“Af­ter be­ing on the road and so busy for so long, this is still our most re­ward­ing night and the high­light of the year for us,” Andrew said. “We have had a lot of peo­ple tell us that this is the night that gets them in the Christ­mas spirit and brings in their Christ­mas sea­son, so it’s al­ways a re­ally special event for those in­volved.”

Join­ing The Van Lears on stage at the GEM will be James Otto, who co-wrote the Gram­my­win­ning song “In Color” by Jamey John­son and had a chart-top­ping hit of his own with “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” in 2008. Thom Bresh, tal­ented mu­si­cian and son of the in­fa­mous finger- picker Merle Travis, is also slated to per­form.

The loaded lineup for the con­cert also in­cludes per­for­mances by lo­cal artists Jule Med­ders, White Wa­ter Junc­tion and Faye Bent­ley. Bent­ley is the mother of Trey and Andrew, and she has opened for the Ken­tucky Head­hunters, Merle Hag­gard and Brad Pais­ley while also par­tic­i­pat­ing in Johnny Cash and Ge­orge Strait trib­utes in the past. Travis Stephens will also play an in­te­gral role as band­leader for the en­tire show.

The con­cert was cre­ated to honor the mem­ory of Dana Pat­ter­son, who was trag­i­cally slain in her Wil­liams­burg- James City, Va. home in July 2013. Pat­ter­son was a close friend and fan of the band, and a long­time mem­ber of Mead­ow­dale Bap­tist Church. Her step­fa­ther, Steven Pear­son, will share the Christ­mas Story and a song with the au­di­ence dur­ing the show.

“Dana was a very dear friend to us, and she was def­i­nitely one of our orig­i­nal fans who sup­ported us when we were just start­ing out,” Andrew said. “We think about her ev­ery day, and her fam­ily is ba­si­cally part of our fam­ily.”

“It’s not about just com­ing to see us per­form, it is re­ally a dis­play of love and sup­port for Steven and the rest of Dana’s fam­ily, who have given so much to this com­mu­nity,” Trey said. “It’s not a night of wor­ship by any means, but it feels like church. It’s a spir­i­tual night of heal­ing for every­one that at­tends.”

Each year, The Van Lears help carry on the legacy of Pat­ter­son by do­nat­ing all the pro­ceeds of the con­cert to a wor­thy cause. In the past, the show raised over 7,500 toys, as well as large amounts of canned foods and other mone­tary do­na­tions that were dis­trib­uted to var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“The show rep­re­sents such an out­pour­ing of love from the com­mu­nity,” Trey said. “Christ­mas was Dana’s fa­vorite time of the year, so this is all about the joy of giv­ing in the Christ­mas spirit.”

This year, all pro­ceeds from ticket and mer­chan­dise sales are be­ing do­nated to the Cooper Brazell Foun­da­tion, which is a lo­cal, not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that as­sists with the med­i­cal ex­penses of Cal­houn Pri­mary School stu­dent Cooper Brazell. Brazell was di­ag­nosed with a rare form of Mi­to­chon­drial Dis­ease at 21 months old, and has been bat­tling com­pli­ca­tions stem­ming from the de­bil­i­tat­ing dis­ease ever since.

Con­cert­go­ers are also wel­come to bring toys, canned goods or do­nate more than the cost of the ticket to the or­ga­ni­za­tion. The band shared that they will make sure all do­na­tions will be dis­trib­uted to the proper places.

“It’s great to see how many peo­ple are helped and how many great things have hap­pened be­cause of Dana and in Dana’s name,” Faye said.

Af­ter the con­cert, The Van Lears in­vite the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing those that are not able to at­tend the show, to join them to fel­low­ship, desserts and cof­fee at the Velo Vine­yard, where they will be joined by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus for pic­tures. There will also be wings from Duke’s Wings and Seafood avail­able at the post-con­cert get­to­gether, which will be gen­er­ously do­nated by owner Der­rick Wil­liams.

The group also wanted to ex­press their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Dal­ton Whole­sale Floors, who spon­sored the ho­tel rooms for the per­form­ers.

Tick­ets for the show are $15, and can be pur­chased on the GEM The­atre web­site, at the box of­fice or by call­ing 706-625-3132.

The Van Lears en­cour­age those in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing to buy their tick­ets as soon as pos­si­ble and not wait to buy them on the night of the show be­cause the last four shows have sold out well in ad­vance. As of press time, over 150 tick­ets have al­ready been spo­ken for. The doors open at 6:00, with the first per­former set to take the stage at 7:00.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Van Lears, con­sist­ing of Trey and Andrew Bent­ley, above, will bring their an­nual Dana Pat­ter­son Merry Christ­mas Show to the GEM The­atre on Satur­day, Dec. 16.

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