‘In the spirit’


TROY — When it comes to Christmas tours, Danny Gokey wants to keep it simple: Be mindful of what the season is all about.

And he hopes to have a little fun, too, when he visits Troy this week for the K-Love Christmas Tour 2022 at Hobart Arena.

Gokey and co-headliner Natalie Grant kick off the 11-city holiday-themed tour Thursday, Dec. 1, with support from Tasha Layton, Jon Reddick and Brandon Heath.

“I’m excited. Last night I did an event that the other artists were at and we were just chatting it up and getting ready to be excited for this next step,” the Grammy-nominated singer said during a phone interview with Miami Valley Today. “I just got off the road with Tasha Layton and I’ve toured with Jon Reddick and Brandon Heath, as well. (Jon, Brandon) and I toured back in 2015 … and then I toured with Tasha this past year. So, I’m not walking into unfamiliar territory.”

And Gokey said he’s particularly jazzed to be ringing in the holidays again with Grant, with whom he’s teamed up for seven Christmas tours.

“Natalie is good at her craft,” he said. “She brings me up another level vocally, and I love being around singers who are better than me because they help me become a better singer.”

Gokey said Thursday’s show will give each artist a chance to perform at least one of their familiar radio hits, but collectively the concert will showcase Christmas favorites.

“It’ll be multiple Christmas songs and everyone will do one hit,” he said. “We want to keep the focus on Christmas, but also have the familiarity.”

The 42-year-old Wisconsin native said he plans on performing “All We Need is Jesus,” but if time allows, he’ll try to squeeze in “Live Up To Your Name.”

And what if somebody else on the lineup wants to do the same Christmas song as another? No worries.

“That’s the challenge with a Christmas tour … but we go through and negotiate. It’s easy. It’s never a problem,” he said. “I’ll do the ‘Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)’ by Nat King Cole — I love that one — and also ‘Mary Did You Know?’

“We want to promote the spirit of Christmas.”

And that, basically, is the foundation for why Gokey enjoys doing Christmas shows year after year.

“I don’t want to manufacture a Christmas spirit — I want to be in the spirit,” he explained. “(And) I really would love to point people to Jesus. I know that sounds cliche … but there’s something I learned at a young age is that if you keep the reverence and meaning behind Christmas (in your heart), you’ll enjoy Christmas more than you ever have.

“It’s about keeping Christ at the center of it … what he gave in exchange for our redemption,” Gokey continued. “It just makes you say ‘thank you,’ and all of a sudden your heart lights up.”

Doors at the arena, located at 255 Adams St., open Thursday at 6 p.m., with the show set to begin at 7 p.m. Ticket information can be obtained online at www.hobartarena.com or by calling the box office at 937-339-2911.

To learn more about the K-Love Christmas Tour 2022, visit klove.com — and for updates and information about Danny Gokey, go to www.dannygokey.com.

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