The Blenders, Fargo’s favorite foursome, are back this year delivering smooth vocal harmonies and holiday favorites during their annual Holiday Concert Tour. The four men, Ryan Lance, Tim Kasper, Darren Rust and Allan Rust, grew up in Fargo-Moorhead. All super-talented in the local music scene, they formed The Blenders over 25 years ago. After years of touring the country, appearing with acts such as Jay Leno, Howie Mandel and others, members of the group have now gone different directions in life. This hasn’t stopped their love of performing together though. With the success of their first Christmas album “Nog” in 1997, the Blenders realized their holiday music really struck a chord with their fan base. Since then, they’ve reconnected every Christmas season for The Blenders Holiday Concert Tour.
The Blenders Holiday Concert Tour kicks off in Minneapolis December 9-11, before going to Des Moines for one show on December 12. Then the Blenders make their annual trek back home, performing seven shows December 14-18 at the historic Fargo Theatre. “It truly is a homecoming for us,” said The Blenders’ Darren Rust. “It’s become a tradition for us and our fans.” Tickets are available exclusively through www.tickets300.com.
Having performed together for so long, things just seem to fall into place for The Blenders. In preparation for the holiday tour, each member practices his own part during the year, and in mid-November, they get together for what Rust likes to call “vocal boot camp.” They brush off the dust, retrain their vocal chords, and get busy with rehearsals.
“We have to really know what we’re doing before we get together,” Rust said. “Everybody’s got their own jobs and families now, so when we come together, it’s really about repetition – singing together a bunch and getting our groove back.”
Fans have come to expect great things each year from the Blenders. Keeping the lineup fresh, but adding in the fan favorites is important. This year, they’re also working on recording two new songs, “When Christmas Comes Along” and “Shake up Christmas”, which are currently available on iTunes and www.theblenders.com.
Performing Christmas songs reminds Rust of his childhood. Having grown up in a musical family, it was common to perform at an early age. He thinks traditional Christmas concerts have changed over the years, and that people are looking for something to help reconnect to times of old. “Our holiday concert really brings people back,” he said. “I have wonderful memories of Christmas, and when people’s memories are brought back, it’s emotional,” he added.
For many fans, seeing The Blenders is not just about entertainment. Friends, families, offices and others have made seeing The Blenders part of their annual tradition. Sold out shows year after year prove they are still touching people in profound ways, and leaving their fans wanting more. At this point, Rust said he and his bandmates almost feel a sense of responsibility to keep coming back. “It really is bigger than us,” he said. “It’s a wonderful feeling and a great reminder to ourselves about the special thing we have.”
By Kristin Johnson