Kenny Rogers embarks on 30th annual Christmas tour

Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:59pm EST
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By Vernell Hackett

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - Grammy winning country singer Kenny Rogers says he feels like he gets to celebrate Christmas for more than a month, as opposed to just a day or two for most everyone else.

This year superstar Rogers launched his 30th annual Christmas & Hits Tour, which began on November 25 and runs through December 23 with stops across the country. In more than three decades of performing the show, the Georgia native has honed his long celebration to perfection.

"We've done some pretty extravagant stuff over the years," the singer told Reuters. "The Christmas audiences come in to be entertained, much more so than the audience the rest of the year. They come in with a different mind-set; they are there for the purpose of being lifted up."

Rogers performs some of his hits, such as "The Gambler," "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town" and "She Believes in Me." But the heart of the show are his renditions of holiday favorites such as "White Christmas," "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let it Snow!," "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" and "O Holy Night."

Thirty years ago, Rogers did not see himself doing a Christmas show, much less one he puts on year after year.

The singer recalled a performance decades ago in Branson, Missouri, and someone in the back yelling out, "Hey, it's December. Aren't you going to do some Christmas music?"

Rogers directed the band to play "O Holy Night." The next year he added two Christmas songs to his show, and slowly he added more and more until he had a lineup of holiday music.

"After about two or three years, I thought we should just do a big presentation, so I did an hour and twenty minutes of Christmas music.   Continued...