Scranton-born musicians are coming home for the holidays, and they’re bringing their friends with them.
The annual NEPA Holiday Show, featuring native Scranton band the Menzingers, will take the stage Saturday, Dec. 22, from 5 to 10:30 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
New this year, the band switched up the acts on the show to feature new bands, said Tom May, Menzingers guitarist and singer. Some hold Scranton roots, such as Dark Thoughts, whose bass player hails Scranton, and Abingtons native singer-songwriter James Barrett. Pacific-Northwest band Ramona just wanted to see what the NEPA Holiday Show was all about.
Changing up the bill adds something fresh to the much-loved event which, May said, is an anticipated part of the holiday season for the performers and fans.
“Every year, people reach out to us asking about it earlier and earlier,” he said. “It’s really become almost an institution on its own.”
Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show, available at nepaholidayshow.com.
The event also will include a Toys for Tots drive and raffle. Each person who donates a new, unwrapped toy will be entered to win a bundle including shirts, sweatshirts and autographed LPs and EPs.
Philanthropy is at the heart of the show. Proceeds benefit art and music programs for kids in the Scranton area, which remains close to the musicians’ hearts.
“When we got our start, it was in the music and art scene in Scranton, and that’s what’s allowed us to travel the world and follow our dreams and have those experiences,” May said. “Those programs inspire and help so many people, and we want (the programs) to keep feeding those younger generations.”
May noted there’s a great amount of nationally and internationally recognized artists who hail from the region, and the band almost can guarantee to run into a few fellow natives in their travels.
No matter where they go in the world, it’s a feeling like no other for the Menzingers and other bands from NEPA to play in their hometown.
“It’s always fun to come back home and play this event and just see everyone,” May said. “This is such a tight-knit community. It’s such a great area to be from.”