Music has always been an important part of the Utah-based Kaelin family, said brothers Craig and Dean. Even to the point the two have based careers on it.

The Kaelin brothers will perform a Christmas concert on Friday, Dec. 23, at the First United Methodist Church, 203 S. 200 East. The music begins at 8 p.m.Tickets are $5 for adults; $3 for children, students and seniors.

"Before I started high school, I had played up and down the West Coast in a band and had enough money to buy an Austin Healy," said big brother Craig Kaelin, 44. "My father kept telling me to use my brothers and, eventually, I did."

"The family band got a booking at Treasure Mountain in Park City," said Dean Kaelin, 33. "I was only nine at the time and sort of stumbled into singing leads."

At the time, the band, consisting of older brother Bob, Dean and Craig, kept losing their bass player, a spot Dean picked up and kept at for the run.

"I remember playing for hours and hours and feeling the blisters on my finger," Dean said.

"I finally told him to switch fingers, and that helped a little," added Craig.

As they got older, the Kaelins left Salt Lake City for the big life in California. And after playing with such artists as Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Bernadette Peters, Leslie Anne Warren and Maureen McGovern, they returned to musical careers in Salt Lake City - Dean is a vocal trainer and Craig teaches piano. Both own separate studios.

Though the brothers play together and have similar tastes in composing, they each have their own influences. While Dean spent his time listening and trying to play Blood, Sweat and Tears, Elton John, Billy Joel and Barry Manilow, Craig was into Liberace and Roger Williams.

Twelve years ago, Dean and Craig began performing their annual Christmas Eve performances.

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"The concerts became such a big production, we decided to play a series of Christmas concerts so everyone could enjoy the music," said Craig.

Between them, the two have released three albums. Two of them (Dean's "Carol of the Bells" and Craig's "White"), are Christmas themed and the third and most recent release (Dean's "Punch & Cookies") is a collection of 11 originals and a remake of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby."

While "Carol of the Bells" reaches into the jazzy synthesized Mannheim Steamroller feel, "White" gets back to the basic, solitary piano sound that reflects, but doesn't copy, George Winston.

The new album not only features Dean on the keyboards, but features guitarist Tom Hopkins, drummer Dan Stephensen, saxophonists Cy Schmidt (who also plays the flute) and Brian Booth, trombone player Kevin Stout and trumpeter Michael Romney.

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