Arts and Entertainment Lifestyles

John Berry has new joy this Christmas

John Berry didn’t know if he’d ever sing again.

“I had this tickle in the back of my throat,” said the GRAMMY-Award winning Aiken native who will bring his Christmas concert to the Imperial Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18.

The tickle bothered him during his 2018 Christmas concerts. A trip to the doctor resulted in two rounds of antibiotics, yet the annoyance persisted. His wife took a peek inside his mouth and saw a growth.

In January 2019, doctors diagnosed that tickle as throat cancer.

“I went through eight rounds of chemo and 38 radiation treatments,” he said. “I had a feeding tube from February to November.”

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During that year, he wondered what it might mean for a singing career spanning four decades. But he said he knew his hope and life wasn’t in his voice.           

In March 2022, he released a new recording Find My Joy which brings together several hymns of God’s faithfulness. Among the hymns are How Great Thou Art, Great is Thy Faithfulness and Blessed Assurance.

He said he believes his experience is something other people can relate to and find comfort in.

John Berry. Photo Credit Just Kaicles 5

“Everyone has got some circumstance. Maybe they’ve lost a child or lost a job,” he said. “I could find joy in my circumstance, As a believer in Christ, I know what really matters and what’s really important. And I’m grateful.”

Bringing his Christmas tour to the Imperial is a holiday tradition for Berry.

Although he no longer lives in Aiken, he still has some family living there, and over the years, he’s developed friendships with people in Augusta.

He has some of the same stops on his Christmas tour every year. Macon is another favorite.

“It’s fun to see the people who come year after year,” he said. “They bring their families.”

One Macon family started coming when the daughters were 4 and 6. Berry has watched them grow up and get married.

 “We get pictures together every year,” he said.

The country singer-songwriter catapulted to fame in the 1990s. He placed 20 singles on the country charts over the course of two decades. Six of them hit the top 5.

Your Love Amazes Me went to No. 1 on the Billboard and Radio and Records Country Chart as well as Standing on the Edge of Goodbye and She’s Taken a Shine achieved the top slot in Radio and Records.

He has several gold and platinum records. He was the Academy of Country Music Award’s nominee for Top New Male Vocalist in 1994 and won a GRAMMY in 1996 for his participation in Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel Vol. 1.

He received a nominated for the Country Music Association’s Top Male Vocalist in 1995.

Tickets are $28-$42 and are available here.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Subscribe to Augusta Good News here.