Taylor’s Band Brings Concert Back to Capitol

For many in the tri-state area, the celebration of Christmas isn’t complete without attending the B.E. Taylor Christmas concert. For nearly 20 years, the concert tour included dates in Pittsburgh, Charleston, Slippery Rock, Beaver and Wheeling, among other cities. Things simply weren’t the same last Christmas after Taylor’s death in August 2016.

This year, though, Taylor’s Christmas band is back — for two nights only at Wheeling’s Capitol Theatre — to fill the void and help audiences “Feel the Love of Christmas” again.

“Bill (Taylor) always used to say that the show was bigger than him, that we did it for the people. We are happy to do that one more time,” said Weirton resident Rick Witkowski, Taylor’s sidekick, guitar player and producer who worked with him since 1980 when they joined forces as the B.E. Taylor Group.

“We know that no one can fill the shoes of B.E. Taylor,” he added. “We hope it’s going to be the closest thing to a B.E. Taylor Christmas concert without B.E. Taylor there.”

Taylor’s son and the band’s drummer, B.C., has been busy organizing the concert alongside his mother, Veronica. He said the show will be both a tribute to his father and a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Last Christmas, coming just a few months after Taylor’s death, was too soon for the family to consider producing the show, but even in the hospital waiting room there was talk of continuing the tradition that meant so much to his dad.

“This year there was just an overwhelming sense of we’ve got to do this for ourselves and for our extended family who come to the show year in and year out,” B.C. Taylor said.

The show is dubbed “I Will Remember” B.E. Taylor Christmas. “I Will Remember” is one of the handful of original songs Taylor recorded on his three Christmas albums; “Feel the Love of Christmas” is another. B.C. Taylor said all of the same elements people came to expect in the show will be there — the high school drum lines and the Aliquippa Church in the Round choir, for instance — along with some surprises. B.C’s sister, Tahnee, will sing at the show for the first time in about a decade, and their uncle Dan, B.E. Taylor’s brother, also will perform as he has done the past two years in Wheeling.

“It’s bittersweet not having Bill with us,” said Wheeling resident Jamie Peck, who plays saxophone and keyboards and produced and performed on Taylor’s stunning rendition of “O Holy Night.” “Bill’s whole idea was to spread the birth of Christ and Christmas through music, and our goal is to do just that.”

“We want people to feel the love of Christmas and feel that feeling you get when you left the B.E. Taylor Christmas concert,” Witkowski said.

Tickets for Friday’s show sold out within hours of their release, but seats are still available for Thursday’s show. For tickets, go to www.etix.com, visit the box office at WesBanco Arena or call 304-233-4470.

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