The whole thing was Jon Montague’s idea.
He wanted to throw a Christmas show, but do something different.
He was thinking of the old Christmas TV specials that had the celebrity host “at home” and all of their celebrity friends would stop by and hang out and maybe perform a song. That was the basic story of the first year. It was supposed to be in Jon’s new apartment and all his friends dropped by to bring gifts and perform some songs. Jon and Mike wrote the script for the first two shows together. There almost wasn’t a show the second year because Jon had been in the hospital, but he insisted on doing it when he got out.
The following January, Jon passed away.
After that, Mike made promises to everyone that we would continue doing shows in memory of Jon. Jon’s brothers, Adam and Jamie, were in full support of this idea and became heavily involved. Brian Mietz had also been a big part of the show since the second year. Since then, the four of us have assembled the show every year. Mike writes the script with plenty of help from Adam, plus ideas pitched by Brian and Jamie. Brian also designs the artwork for the CDs that are given out at the show (another idea of Jon’s. The first year was a cassette!) Most everyone involved in the show helps in some way with putting it all together. Between the food, the decorations and Dave and Steve (Gradwell House Recording) providing time at the studio to record.
The fact that it’s such a group effort is why it’s more like a party than a show. It’s all very personal to us. We do the show every year because it helps us remember Jon, but it’s so much fun for all of us. Nobody ever seems too bothered to put in the work to make it happen each year.
Also, all the money raised goes to the Arbor Foundation charity.