Singer/songwriter Jon McLaughlin will experience a couple of firsts on his final holiday concert show in 2021.
McLaughlin will make his first appearance with Carmel Symphony Orchestra. The performances will be at Westfield High School, which will mark the first McLaughlin has performed there as well.
McLaughlin will headline two Holiday Pops performances with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra Dec. 18 at Westfield High School’s auditorium, 18250 N. Union St.
The concerts, sponsored by IU Health North, will be at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
McLaughlin has previously played with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Anderson Symphony Orchestra. McLaughlin’s brother Jeffrey has taught music at WHS since 2008.
Jeffrey will join his brother on drums for the concert.
“That’s going to be super fun,” Jon McLaughlin said. “When I first started playing in gigs, my brother was on drums. We played this summer with Anderson Symphony, and he was on drums. Typically, we play together now once a year.”
McLaughlin has lived in Nashville, Tenn., for seven years. Growing up in Anderson, McLaughlin lived five years in Broad Ripple and two years in Carmel.
“We’ll do a couple songs with just me and the band, but for 90 percent of the show the orchestra will be there,” he said. “I love playing with a full orchestra. I’m going to have them on every chart possible. I wrote two more charts for orchestra for two of my new songs. I could play with just the band, but it would be a tragedy to have the Carmel Symphony out there patiently sitting there when I’m doing music. I want them on every song.”
McLaughlin plays holiday original songs along with some cover songs. He said he usually ends with the song “Hallelujah This Christmas,” which he recorded with Straight No Chaser.
“It’s an all a cappella song,” he said.
McLaughlin said he has an arrangement of “Jingle Bells,” which was on his first Christmas record in 2014.
“It’s the most challenging song for me to play, which makes it the most fun,” he said. “It’s super fast. We’re going 1,000 miles an hour. It’s very jazzy. There’s a solo. It’s fun.”
CSO Artistic Director Janna Hymes expects two fun-filled shows.
“Our musicians can’t wait to perform with this Indiana legend,” Hymes stated. “Jon embodies everything that is ‘Hoosier’ in the very best sense, and his passion for music is evident in each note he plays.”
McLaughlin’s newest album, “All The Things I Say To Myself,” was set to be released Nov. 19. He has performed a few of the songs on the tour. The video from the album’s first single, “Why it Hurts?,” was shot in Indianapolis.
The concert with Carmel Symphony Orchestra will be the final one on his return.
“It’s going to be a return to not being busy for a while,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin began making up all the postponed 2020 dates in September 2021. Then he started a holiday concert tour in Minneapolis.
His first holiday album had four songs.
“I thought we had either to have more songs or we have a 20-minute concert,” McLaughlin said. “Now, I have three holiday albums. The third one came out in 2020, which made no sense because I couldn’t tour on it.”
Instead, he did several livestreams.
“I got very used to being in a room alone with a camera,” he said. “The first time I was back out and finished a song and got some applause, I thought, ‘This feels good.’”