The Christmas season is Monte Ingersoll's favorite time of year.
It's become even more special since he and his family returned to the Tri-Cities from Salem about two years ago.
"We liked Salem but it wasn't home," Ingersoll said. "I was born at Kennewick General Hospital and raised in this town. This will always be home to me."
But even more than his fondness for Christmas and his hometown, Ingersoll loves to sing.
He'll share that passion Dec. 20 when he and his friend Mel Haug perform a Home for Christmas concert.
Showtime is 7 p.m. in the Windermere Theatre at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Also featured in the program will be The Studio Singers from The Living Room church, along with guest vocalists Karli Fairbanks from Spokane and Michelle Sanders from Kennewick.
But before the music starts, Ingersoll and Haug have arranged for some pre-show festivities.
"We're going to be grilling hot dogs in the parking lot starting at 5 p.m.," Ingersoll said. "We're also going to have police and firefighters on hand with some of their vehicles, which the kids will love."
There also will be carolers strolling about, and Brenda DeDock from Eugene, Ore., will sing in the coliseum lobby prior to showtime.
And there's a good chance Santa will make an appearance as well.
"The best part about this concert is that all the money we raise in ticket sales will go to benefit seven agencies here in town," Ingersoll said.
Those agencies are The Arc of Tri-Cities, Junior Achievement, Camp Patriot, Safe Harbor, Boys & Girls Club, Domestic Violence of Benton and Franklin counties and Catholic Family Service.
"And it would not have been possible to raise all that money for charity without the generosity of the wonderful sponsors who came forward to help us," Ingersoll said. "That's another reason I'm so excited about this concert."
Ingersoll said he became more passionate about music when an accident several years ago left him wondering if he'd ever sing again.
He fell several feet from a ladder while painting his house in 1991. The fall broke his back and fractured his skull and he spent five years rehabilitating from those injuries.
"That was a scary time," he said. "I struggled for a long time and had to retrain myself how to sing."But once he recovered, his zest for music intensified.
"There's a difference in my voice that I think comes from the fact I almost lost my voice," Ingersoll said. "I sing with a lot more heart since that time. And performing concerts that ultimately help other people who are struggling only adds to the joy of this Home for Christmas event."
Ingersoll also was able to entice two Los Angeles musicians to come and perform with the Living Room Church's orchestra for the concert.
They are pianist Mark LeVang, who has been the arranger on Ingersoll's albums, and guitarist Bob Somma. Both are studio musicians who have performed for many celebrities and have been part of the orchestra that plays for the Emmy Awards ceremony, Ingersoll said.
The rest of the Living Room Church orchestra includes Doug Norman on drums, Al Brower on bass, Jackie Warwick on acoustic guitar and Fraser Wambeke on keyboards.
◗ Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org