A unique combinational of bluegrass and classical music will make for a "Magical Grassical Christmas" on Dec. 13 at the Mars Theatre in Springfield.
The DePue Brothers Band will include elements of jazz, blues and rock, but it is their own unique "grassical" sound that will take center stage. Each of the four brothers are classical violin virtuosos and have been making music together for the last 25 years.
In 1989, then-President George H.W. Bush awarded them a decree naming the DePue Brothers as "American Musical Family of the Year." In 1993, they were the subject of a nationally televised PBS documentary "The DePue Family Musicians: Music for Every Occasion."
The group's first CD was "Classical Grass," recorded in 2003. It sold out of its first printing in less than three months.
The band's most recent studio CD is "Weapons of Grass Construction," produced in 2010. In 2013, the DePue Brothers recorded a Christmas CD, "When It's Christmas Time."
In Springfield, brothers Wallace DePue Jr. and Jason DePue will be joined by Don Liuzzi, the principal timpanist/percussionist of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Mark Cosgrove, the 1995 national flat-picking guitar champion; banjoist Mike Munford; and jazz bassist Kevin MacConnell.
In addition to performing in the family band, each brother has another job teaching or playing music.
Jason is the first violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Zach was previously the first violinist there. Wallace works with opera companies and Alex plays with rock bands and competes in fiddling contests.
"We grew up playing music together as the DePue Family Musicians," Jason says. "Once we went to college, it was sort of on pause for a while.
"Then it evolved to a two brothers band. We do concerts throughout the year, but especially at the holidays.
"It's a very special program," Jason says. "It promises to be a very popular program with incredible variety that should satisfy the ears of whoever is listening."
Jason doesn't think having four fiddling brothers in one family is all that unusual.
"It happens sometimes in various families," he says. "Everyone becomes a lawyer, or a doctor.
"In our case, everyone became a musician. Our father is a composer, and we all followed suit.
"We all have our different varying degrees of being involved in music," Jason says. "All four of us are equally as involved and busy with music as anybody can possibly be."
As a composer, the senior DePue has written an original Christmas song every year for 40 years. The group will perform one he wrote in the early 1990s, "When It's Christmas Time."
"As soon as I saw it, I thought it was an absolutely fabulous Christmas melody," Jason says. "I told him we would like to do an arrangement of it. It just happens to be the name of our CD. 'When It's Christmas Time.'"
In Springfield, the audience will get a variety of music, Jason says.
"We use the grassical concept on some songs on the new CD, 'When It's Christmas Time,' that exemplify grassical music," he says. "'Good King Wenceslas' is a great example of what grassical music is.
"There'll be some jazz and bluegrass and one rock tune that is an original. There will be some classical songs and some Renaissance-type songs and some old world Christmas melodies that reflect the past in a very traditional manner.
"Some are strictly classical pieces," Jason says. "There is a variety of stuff that is brought to the table via the instrumentation of a guitar, banjo and anywhere between one violin to four violins. There will be a minimum of seven performing on this tour."
The tour will cover 6,000 miles.
"It's about 10 or 11 concerts in 10 or 11 different cities," Jason says. "It's busy.
"There's a reason why we're busy. It's a good program and it's nice to share with an audience.
"I'm always a big fan of making it available to anybody who would want to be able to hear it," he says. "I'm a big fan of the more, the merrier. I love a packed hall."
The tour is something of an adventure as the group is traveling by SUV and a new recreational vehicle Jason just bought.
"It's only 23 feet, but it's got a bathroom and kitchen," he says. "It will be nice to have available if someone is really tired and needs to stretch out."
Everyone in the group looks forward to meeting people at every stop.
"Don't be a stranger," Jason says. "There's nothing we care about more than being able to perform for people."