Lauri J. Reimer, Manager Of The Tribe Band, Answers Our Questions About The Group’s New Holiday Single, ‘This Christmas’

Following on from the release of ‘This Christmas‘, by The Tribe, we spoke with Lauri J. Reimer, The Tribe’s band manager and Project Coordinator for ‘This Christmas’.

You’ve a brought together a musical collective to cover the Donny Hathaway classic, ‘This Christmas’. Who came up with the idea?

The Tribe has been together as a music collective since 2015. We mainly perform live music concerts – many for charity — and occasionally we record a song. When we do that, we do it big! The idea of choosing this specific song, Donny Hathaway’s ‘“’This Christmas’, to be our next recording project came from our executive producer and founder of The Tribe, Kevin Wachs. Kevin is a visionary. He is also someone with a big heart who enjoys making a difference in the world. He and his wife, Mare, both stand for this on a daily basis through their work as co-founders of the Get Together Foundation.

What was it about ‘This Christmas’ that made it the choice of song?

A few months back, Kevin decided it was time for The Tribe to release another single and came up with the idea of remaking ‘This Christmas’, since we were leading up to the holiday season. He searched for a charity organization connected to Donny, and he discovered the Donny Hathaway Legacy Project, founded by Donny’s daughter Donnita. The organization aids people suffering from mental illness. The idea of helping people with mental illness during the holiday season felt right. So, we decided to have our version of the song support the DHLP by asking for donations.

Kevin contacted Donnita about our idea. He then asked Ken Stacey (Ambrosia, Elton John, Michael Jackson) — who is a lover of Donny’s music — to create an arrangement of the song for The Tribe to record and one in which we could proudly invite some celebrity singers to participate. Ken is often a featured singer with The Tribe, and has sung Donny’s version with us in past shows. He gladly accepted! The decision to remake that song and support the organization all sort of came together at the same time.

How did you decide who to include?

We knew we wanted recognizable voices on the recording. With Kevin Wachs being a long time publisher of Rock Cellar Magazine, we have had ongoing relationships with many recording artists and their publicity teams, so it seemed only logical to reach out to some of these local artists who already know us and are also familiar with the Get Together Foundation. (In 2020, we put on a 10-hour all-star telethon that was live streamed and raised money for L.A. City Coronavirus Relief Fund. We got a lot of celebrity support for this event, which raised a lot of money and caught some attention).

Kevin had recently been at a benefit event in Santa Barbara where he had a chance to speak to Michael McDonald about our project in person, and he was totally on board. In addition, the Tribe’s ‘This Christmas’ producer and arranger, Ken Stacey, is Kenny Loggins’ vocal coach. When he mentioned the project to Kenny, he loved the idea of participating, so that one was pretty easy! As a matter of fact, Ken went up to Santa Barbara to record both Kenny and Michael at their favorite SB studio. Ken also invited his friend Richard Marx to join the project, and he too offered his voice.

I reached several of the other artists who appeared including Melissa Manchester, Freda Payne, and Florence LaRue, and, Lamont Dozier, Jr. had been part of our Tribe until he relocated to Las Vegas a few years back. We were very fortunate that he was in town during the time we were recording and was able to participate.

Donnita Hathaway, Donny’s daughter who runs his Foundation, introduced us to Frank McComb, and mentioned how much he sounds like her father. She was totally right! They were all amazing and so were all the Tribe singers who participated on the project.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Christmas is a time of giving, of sharing, of retrospect, and of giving love and generosity in ways we can. Musically, it’s an opportunity to share the joy of music with those who need it most. Music heals; music makes a difference. So, we use the holiday as an opportunity to spread this goodness.

All proceeds from the sales of ‘This Christmas’ are going to the Donny Hathaway Legacy Project – tell us something about the charity.

The Donny Hathaway Legacy Project (DHLP), a 501(c)(3) established in 2015 by Donnita Hathaway, Hathaway’s youngest daughter. The organization was created to honor Hathaway’s rich musical legacy and provide effective resources to aid in educating, acknowledging, and healing those who suffer from mental illness. Hathaway himself suffered from severe mental illness which eventually resulted on his untimely death in 1979 at just 33 years of age. 

This is the donation link:

How important do you feel mental health care is at this time of year? How can the rest of us help out if we have friends or family members with mental health needs over the holiday season?

Everyone deserves a chance, and sometimes people cannot do it alone. For further information and support, check out

What’s next for The Tribe Band?

We just finished our annual holiday benefit concert for the Get Together Foundation which was a lot of fun. We performed a mix of holiday tunes and songs about peace, love, and understanding. Now we’re planning our schedule for 2023. The best way to know what we have going on is to join our mailing list, follow our social media, and check our website. Last year we launched a show called One-Hit Wonders which we performed with a rotating cast all summer, and we anticipate being able to do more of the same at local summer concert series next summer. I’m sure there will be some other fun shows, too.

You can catch up with what The Tribe do next on their official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Watch the music video for ‘This Christmas’ below and via this link.

"THIS CHRISTMAS" by The Tribe & All-Star Friends including Kenny Loggins & Michael McDonald

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email

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