The Best of Branson Insider Highlights for August 2016

Terry Fator and Friends and Super Summer Cruise are just two of the exciting events happening in Branson during August.

The “Super Summer Cruise” and “Terry Fator,” along with some of his friends, are just two of the exciting events happening in Branson during August.

“It’s doubtful that any other place in America offers the unique variety and choices for having fun and being entertained that Branson does,” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest providers of tourism services and information. In addition to everything else Branson offers, here’s our “insider highlight list” of some of the unique and exciting additional events that Branson visitors will be able to enjoy during August, including our Featured Show and Event of the Month:

"Raiding the Country Vault's Colt Prather, right, Melody Hart, and Billy Yates during their spectacular performance of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia."

“Raiding the Country Vault’s” Colt Prather, right, Melody Hart, and Billy Yates during their spectacular performance of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”

Featured Show of the Month: Branson’s newest major show, Raiding the Country Vault, has only been open for a few short weeks. After seeing it, I must agree with many who saw it before me, and said that six words pretty well summed up their experience, “It will blow your socks off!” One person who saw the show wrote, “It is a master production of the highest quality and it is devoted to traditional country music. While staying true to the traditional country sound, the music is presented with enthusiasm and attitude.” As three large screens display the name of artist who made the song famous, their history, and other information about the song itself, the cast reaches into the ‘Vault’ and performs each, turning legendary songs from the past into what is easily one of the most amazing entertainment experiences in Branson.

Featured Event of the Month: The Shepherd of the Hills Super Summer Cruise Weekend with its “Show & Shine” and “Midnight Cruise” is one of Branson’s most popular summer events. The three-day event, to be held at the “Shepherd of the Hills Homestead,” features hundreds of classic cars and trucks on public display during the daily “Show & Shine” and culminates with its famous “Midnight Cruise,” down Shepherd of the Hills Expressway.

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT PERFORMANCES (Sorted by starting date.)

Aug 5: The Happy Together Tour
Aug 6-7: Terry Fator
Aug 7: Bret Michaels

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Aug 1 – Aug 31: 2016 World Exclusive Exhibit – Titanic Museum Attraction
Aug – Aug 13: Night Water! at White Water
Aug 1 – Aug 7: Silver Dollar City Moonlight Madness
Aug 1 – Aug 5: Ball Parks of America Bring the Lumber Baseball Tournament
Aug 4 – Aug 6: Vintage Camper Event – Branson KOA
Aug 5 – Aug 7: Missouri State Tax-Free Holiday Sale
Aug 5 – Aug 7: Tax Free Holiday Shopping at Tanger Outlets
Aug 5 – Aug 7: “End of Summer Savings” Sidewalk Sale
Aug 6: ROCK THE SPECTRUM
Aug 7: 10th Annual Back to School Bash
Aug 8 – Aug 10: Baseball Youth All Star Challenge
Aug 10 – Aug 13: Shepherd of the Hills Super Summer Cruise Weekend
Aug 11 – Aug 14: Baseball Youth World Championships
Aug 13: Promenade Pop-Up Shop
Aug 13: Outlaw Nation Southern Revival Concert Series
Aug 16: Foraging in the Ozarks: Wild Edible-Medicinal Plant and Bird ID Mosey
Aug 17 – Aug 21: Youth Baseball Network (YBN) National Tournament
Aug 17 – 20 Youth Baseball (YBN) Coaches Convention 417-335-5767
Aug 20: 3rd Annual KidSTYLE Back-to-School Bash at Tanger Outlets
Aug 25 – Sep 5: Silver Dollar City Southern Gospel Picnic Festival
Aug 26 – Aug 28: 28th Annual Fiddle Festival Presented by Grand Country
Aug 28 – Sep 4: Southern Gospel Cruises on the Showboat Branson Belle

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550.

 

Branson shows promise an awesome Thanksgiving weekend

Four of the many Branson shows that will be open over the Thanksgiving Day Weekend, SIX, top left, Clay Cooper's Country Music Express, Presleys' Country Jubilee, and It Starring the Hughes Brothers.

Four of the many Branson shows that will be open over the Thanksgiving Weekend, SIX, top left, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, and It Starring the Hughes Brothers.

“Although it’s early, we are getting questions about what shows will be open on Thanksgiving Day and over that weekend,” said, Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager for the Branson Tourism Center. “We are pleased to provide a list of most of the Branson shows scheduled to be open on Thanksgiving Day and over that weekend. It is in alphabetical order with those on Our List of Most Popular Branson Shows listed first. Those that will be open on Thanksgiving Day are indicated with an * after their entry; the links will take you to the specific show page with additional information on the show, schedules, ticketing, special discounts, pricing options like VIP seating, videos and more:

Acrobats of China*

Amazing Pets*

Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza*

Billy Dean in Concert with Jarrett

Branson Country USA

Christmas Wonderland

Clay Cooper’s Country Express

Comedy Jamboree

Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies

Grand Jubilee*

Hughes Brothers Christmas Show*

Legends in Concert*Million Dollar Quartet*

Moses

Moses Behind the Scenes Tour

New Jersey Nights*

Ozark Mountain Jubilee

Presleys’ Country Jubilee

Puttin’ on the Ritz*

Reza Edge of Illusion*

Shoji Tabuchi*

SIX*

Sunday Gospel Jubilee

The Blackwoods Morning Show

The Haygoods*

The Lettermen*

160722 Composite Sm UIA1

#1 Hits of the 60’s & 50’s too

50s Rock Roll and Reminisce

70’s Music Celebration Starring Barry Williams*

ABBA Tribute – Thank You for the Music

Alabama Rolls On Tribute

All American Gospel

All Hands on Deck

Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai*

A Neil Diamond Tribute*

Art Parties Tonight

A Tribute To George Strait Dinner Show

A Tribute to John Denver*

A Tribute to Marty Robbins*

AYO starring Voices of Glory

Beach Boys California Dreamin’

Bee Gees and Beyond

Big Clayton’s Piano Show

Boot Daddy Presents Dailey & Vincent

Branson Murder Mystery Dinner Show

Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers

Bretts

Carpenters Once More*

Christmas on the Trail Chuckwagon Dinner Show*

Classic Country’s Patsy Cline & Friends

Comedy Hypnosis Show*

Conway Remembered

Crazy ’bout Patsy and Other Country Legends*

Dixie Stampede*

Doo Wop and the Drifters

Duttons*

Eagles Tribute Concert

Forever Young

George Jones and Friends Remembered

George Strait Country starring James Garrett*

Golden Sounds of The Platters with Eddie Stovall*

Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol*

Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show*

Hank Williams Revisited

Hot Rods & High Heels

Kelli Grant “The Queen of Swing”

Legend of Kungfu – Return of the Dragon*

Lynyrd Skynyrd & Suthyrn Fryd Frynds Tribute

Magnficent 7 Show

Motown Downtown*

Ozark Mountain Opry Show

Pierce Arrow*

Red, Hot & Blue

Sanders Family Christmas*

Showboat Branson Belle*

Smoke on the Mountain

The Hypnolarious Show*

The Petersen Family Bluegrass Band

The Sons of Britches

TitanicDance*

Twice Adopted*

Waylon, Willie & The Good Ol’ Boys

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison reminds that show schedules are subject to change. For the most current schedules, he suggests checking the link for any show you might be interested that is listed in this article, which will automatically be updated; the BTC Branson Show List, the most current list of Branson shows available anywhere; or calling the Branson Tourism Center, at 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of its Branson based Travel Planners.

Awesome Dutton quality, value, & customers service make Dutton Inn a special Experience!

Dutton Inn

Dutton Inn

Millions were introduced to the Duttons’ talent, friendliness, and charisma as they rose to the top ten on Season 2 of the NBC prime time hit “America’s Got Talent.” They discovered what their fans, and Branson audiences, had experienced for years prior, and are still experiencing today at the Duttons show in Branson. What many don’t know however, is that the Dutton family owns the Dutton Inn, located just behind their theatre, which provides the lodging equivalent of what the Duttons show is to the highest quality in Branson entertainment.

During a recent interview with Belle Dutton, the beautiful wife of Jonathan Dutton, and one of the mangers of the Dutton Inn she said, “From check-in to check-out, we are dedicated to one thing, giving our guests a wonderful memorable lodging experience, filled with the friendliness and quality that reflects the Dutton’s values and standards. One that makes us proud to have our name on it.”

One of the Dutton Inn's tastefully appointed double queen rooms.

One of the Dutton Inn’s tastefully appointed double queen rooms.

The Inn has 76 tastefully appointed rooms, each with two queen sized beds and a full set of amenities. Each also “has a coffee pot, granite counter tops at the sink in bathroom, FREE Wi-Fi connection, flat screen TV, 60 cable channels, nightstand, lamps, dresser, table, chairs, microwave, mini-fridge, and free local calls. Hair dryers, irons, and ironing boards are available, by request, from the front desk at no additional charge.” Although it has no pool or game room the Inn is ideally located within a five to ten minute walk of White Water and just across the parking lot from Cici’s and its large game room.

Belle points out that staying at the Dutton Inn is more than just staying in one of the cleanest rooms in Branson. From that special Dutton family ambiance and spirit, to its excellent location, full family breakfast, unparalleled customer service, and the willingness to do all that is expected, “and then some,” to meet or exceed their guest’s expectations, staying at the Inn is an experience that will become a special part of your Branson visit.

In terms of location, the Dutton Inn is about as good as it gets. Tucked back near Green Mountain Drive, away from the noise and bustle of the Branson Strip, guests can conveniently enter and leave the Inn’s parking lot from either Highway 76 or Green Mountain Drive. This provides a number of ways to avoid the Highway 76 traffic in getting to destinations such as Silver Dollar City, Branson Landing, Historic Downtown Branson, Titanic, Table Rock Lake, and many others. Belle said the front desk personnel will be glad to advise guests on the best way to get where they are going.

Even better is the fact that guests are within a convenient five to ten minute walk from many of Branson’s shows, attractions and restaurants. Among others, these include White Water, the Branson Ferris Wheel, and the Track Family Fun Park, as well as shows such as the Duttons, SIX, AYO, “It” starring the Hughes Brothers, Forever Young, Liverpool Legends, and George Dyer as well as restaurants such as Cicis, Andy’s Frozen Custard, Shindigs, Dutton Deli, and many others.

She also pointed out that the Inn is a participant in the Branson Tourism Center’s (BTC) Lowest Rate Lock Guarantee Program. If you book your stay at the Dutton Inn through BTC, subject to the programs minimal conditions, the price you pay is guaranteed to be the lowest rate available. If you find a lower price offered for the same room on the same dates anytime between when you book your room and when you arrive in Branson, BTC will match the lower rate.

Belle emphasized her belief that when you combine the Dutton Inn quality, cleanliness, price, service, location, and the Lowest Rate Lock Guarantee, that not only is the Inn one of the best lodging values in Branson, but an experience that will become a wonderful part of your Branson memories. For additional information or reservations for the Dutton Inn please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Raiding the Country Vault will blow your socks off!

Colt Prather and Melody Hart during their spectacular performance of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia."

Colt Prather and Melody Hart during their spectacular performance of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”

Branson’s newest major show, Raiding the Country Vault, has only been open for a few short weeks and it’s the talk of Branson. For those who haven’t heard, six words pretty well sum up what all the talking’s about, “It will blow your socks off!” After seeing the show on July 7, I sure had to grab my socks and put them back on.

Devoted to traditional country music, it is an extremely well-produced show, presented by a cast who are not only masters at their craft, but obviously have a love and enthusiasm for the music they are performing. And perform it they do, with the title of an early George Straight hit, Give It All We Got Tonight, song sung early on by Billy Yates, describing the energy and passion this extremely talented cast puts forth from beginning to end.

It would take quite a bit of space to list all their professional accomplishments so, suffice it to say that they are extremely talented, well rooted in traditional country music, and, except for one, are based in Nashville and other points outside of Branson. Led by Michael Peterson, Musical Director, Guitarist, and Lead Vocals; it consists of Billy Yates, Lead Vocals and Guitar, a Missouri Native who co-wrote the Grammy Award winning song, “Choices” and the George Jones Classic, I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair;  Colt Prather, Lead Vocals and Lead Guitar; Michael Peterson, Lead Vocals and Guitar; Derrek C. Phillips, Drums, Scott Kwapiszeski, Pedal Steel and Banjo; Danielle Peck, Lead Vocals; Michelle Poe, Lead Vocals and Bass; Steve Ramsey, Keyboards; and Melody Hart, Lead Vocals and Fiddle, who has been a Branson favorite since she started playing the fiddle and singing in Branson in 1989.

The show includes a “lite” story line involving “Roadie” Taylor Kidd, played by Actor/comedian Luke Ashlocke, as he shares his back stage experiences about what happens on tour. Ashlocke also plays the part of country music star, Ricky Montana as he is interviewed by the effervescent Jackie Daniels, star of her TV show, Road Tales, but the shows primary focus is on legendary country music and those who made it so.

Danielle Peck and Billy Yates performing the classic Dolly Parton-Kenny Rogers duet of "Islands in the Stream."

Danielle Peck and Billy Yates performing the classic Dolly Parton-Kenny Rogers duet of “Islands in the Stream.”

“BobC,” who saw the show, and commented about it on the Show Forum of WWW.1Branson.Com, summed the result up so well, when he wrote, “Raiding the Country Vault is a master production of the highest quality and it is devoted to traditional country music. While staying true to the traditional country sound, the music is presented with enthusiasm and attitude.” As three large screens display the name of artist who made the song famous, their history, and other information about the song itself, the cast reaches into the “Vault” and performs each, turning legendary songs from the past into what is easily one of the most amazing entertainment experiences in Branson.

Some might ask, “How can a group of musicians and vocalists, even those as talented as these, playing and singing songs from the past, provide a relevant amazing entertainment experience today?” The answer is simple, “Because they can!” From the beginning to end, this wonderful country music journey has one WOW performance after another, and it’s not just their considerable talent. Although intangible, when you sense and feel their commitment and passion to the music they are performing, it takes an already great entertainment experience and makes it an absolutely amazing one.

For each show that I review I list three highlights and, it will be no different here, but I have to say, that very seldom, have I had so many highlights to pick from. Billy Yates’ great performance of the George Jones hit, I Don’t Need No Rocking Chair had special meaning to me on two counts. Billy co-wrote it and, to me, there’s something special about hearing someone perform a song they have written and, it was the last song I ever heard, Branson legend, Lloyd Presley perform. The performance of the Charlie Daniels’ hit, Devil Went Down to Georgia, featuring Melody Hart on the fiddle, Colt Prather, on the guitar, and Billy Yates on vocal, was one of the most powerful and exciting versions of that song I have ever heard and Danielle Peck’s performance of the Tammy Wynette hit, Stand By Your Man, was beautiful.

It ended all too quickly, and is a show that should absolutely not be missed. For additional information or tickets for Raiding the Country Vault, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services; call 1-800-785-1550 or visit www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Is Pokémon Go actually Branson’s most awesome new show or attraction?

The Branson Tourism Center is one of many PokéStops in Branson.

The Branson Tourism Center is one of many PokéStops in Branson.

“Well, not really, but it’s not because it is not one of the most popular things people are doing while in Branson right now,” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest providers of tourism services and information. “It’s because Pokémon Go is not a Branson show or attraction, but a new game people play on their mobile phones as they are out and about searching for a ‘Pokémon,’” he added.

Since being introduced, less than a week ago, the growth of Pokémon Go, a new augmented reality exploration game that is played on mobile phones, has been nothing less than phenomenal. It’s a game that requires players to actually leave their homes and search for “Pokémon,” and that’s a plural thing, as in their numbers stretch into infinity. As they travel around Branson, or almost anywhere else, their phone will signal when “Pokémon” are near which will generally be near a “PokéStop” or “Gym.” Players “spin” and get rewards such as Pokéballs which can then be used to try to capture a Pokémon. There’s a lot more to the game than that, but, at least initially, the main objective is to capture “Pokémon.”

The neat thing is that playing the game can be done as an activity in itself, or as many do, played in conjunction with doing other things and deciding if and when to respond to a Pokémon sighting when their phone signals. The Branson Tourism Center (BTC) is a PokéStop, as are, we believe, many of Branson’s shows, attractions, and businesses. Connar Dougharty, one of BTC’s Branson based Travel Planners, who is playing the game, said that many of the people checking into BTC are playing the game and that they have noticed people “driving through” the parking lot stopping to play.

So, while Pokémon Go is an extremely popular activity  it’s just another thing that Branson visitors can enjoy along with everything else Branson has to offer. One never knows though, there might be a Pokémon waiting as you pull into the parking lot of a Branson theatre or attraction, but even if there isn’t, there will be fun, adventure, and excitement.

Is the heat of summer the right time to plan for Christmas in Branson?

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer leads the "Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade" during Silver Dollar City's "Old Time Christmas."

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer leads the “Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade” during Silver Dollar City’s “Old Time Christmas.” (Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City)

“Absolutely! To some, planning a Christmas trip to Branson in the sweltering heat of summer might seem weird,” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager for the Branson Tourism Center. “However, to those who know how busy Branson is during its Ozark Mountain Christmas season, planning in July might just be the ‘coolest’ thing to do to ensure the ‘hottest’ deals and best availability of lodging and show seats,” he added.

Garrison points out that Ozark Mountain Christmas, runs from November 1 through December 31 each year and that it is the most colorful, exciting, inspirational, and busiest time of the year in Branson. It is a unique Christmas experience that is not available anywhere else. From the giant Adoration Scene on top of Mount Branson on the East, to Silver Dollar City and its “Old Time Christmas” to the West, Branson is aglow with Christmas lights, shows, shopping and, most important of all, the true spirit of Christmas that “resonates in the hearts of those wanting to celebrate and experience the traditional celebration of Christmas.”

Silver Dollar City’s “Old Time Christmas” is perennially named one of the top Christmas destinations in America. It features 1,000 decorated Christmas trees, over 5 million sparkling Christmas lights, a 5-story Special Effects Christmas Tree in its town square, two Broadway style shows, and the “Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade featuring Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends.”

Many of Branson’s other attractions will have special Christmas themes, decorations, and exhibits. Two great examples would be the Titanic Museum Attraction, as it celebrates its beautiful “Edwardian Christmas,” and the unique White Flight exhibit at the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure. Another is The Shepherd of the Hills’ Trail of Lights, a two-and-a-half-mile drive through sparkling holiday lights and displays, winding through the historic Shepherd of the Hills Homestead, that also includes a trip to the top of Inspiration Tower. It is truly a one of a kind display, featuring religious, patriotic, humorous, Victorian and other themes in a setting unlike any other lighting display anywhere.

The glow of Christmas lights doesn’t stop there, as Christmas decorations and lights adorn city utility poles, Branson Landing, the Branson Ferris Wheel, and many other Branson theatres, businesses, and attractions. A Branson tradition, since it was started in 1949, is the brightly lit giant Nativity scene on top of Mount Branson. It will be lit, and followed by the Adoration Christmas Parade, starting at 5:00 PM on December 4.

And, speaking of parades, you won’t want to miss the 4th Annual “Most Wonderful Time of Year Parade,” featuring many Branson entertainers. It’s dedicated to “Mr. Christmas,” Andy Williams, and will go down the center of the Branson Landing promenade on November 19 followed by “a dozen live performances from the main stage in front of the Branson Landing fountains and a special grand finale” not to be missed.

As would be expected, in a town famous for the variety and quality of its live shows, the vast majority of Branson’s shows share the spirit of Christmas by devoting a substantial portion of their shows to the celebration of the traditional Christmas. In addition, there are a number of shows that are only available during Ozark Mountain Christmas, that are totally Christmas including the Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza, staring the Osmond Brothers and Lennon Sisters; Christmas Wonderland; the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show; and others.

“Branson’s year round world class shopping experience includes Branson Landing; a large variety of unique galleries, craft shops, boutiques, and specialty shops; as well as discount malls like the Tanger Outlets and The Shoppes at Branson Meadows,” Garrison said. “When you combine that with the fun, spirit and excitement, of Ozark Mountain Christmas, it’s easy to see why so many do their Christmas shopping in Branson,”.

He points out that during the regular season there are periods when Branson shows and lodging fill up, but that, particularly with the more popular hotels and shows, is multiplied exponentially during Ozark Mountain Christmas. Not only do the chances of non-availability increase, but the chances of getting the best prices, show seats, and choice of accommodations decrease the longer one waits to make their Ozark Mountain Christmas travel plans.

For additional information on Ozark Mountain Christmas, or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website http://www.bransontourismcenter.com/ .

Can a swift thriller at Legends in Concert make a colossal ring of fire?

Legends in Concert stars Michael Jackson, Top Left, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and Blues Brothers.

Legends in Concert stars Michael Jackson, Top Left, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and Blues Brothers.

“Well, if it’s the summer of 2016 and Legends in Concert’s celebrating its 20th year in Branson, with a little help, that might just be a possibility,” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager for the Branson Tourism Center. As I watched the Legends in Concert (Legends) show last week, I experienced first-hand what Garrison was alluding to and saw, among others, Legends in Concert tribute performances by Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson performing “Thriller,” and Johnny Cash singing “Ring of Fire.”

It is a colossal show, in terms of the number of tribute artists, band members, singers and dancers performing. Legends brings to the Branson stage the same level of production, talent, and excitement that its Las Vegas, “parent” has been providing since 1983 and its “siblings” are providing at such prime destination as Waikiki, Myrtle Beach, Atlantic City, and others.

From the very beginning, the hallmark of Legends in Concert has been the quality of its tribute artists. Each performer “not only looks like the star they portray, but uses their own natural voice to pay homage to their iconic music counterpart.” The six legends portrayed in the show I saw were “Kenny Chesney” performed by Todd Bradshaw, “Taylor Swift,” performed by Elizabeth Scarborough; the “Blues Brothers,” performed by Danny Z and Clint Nievar; “Michael Jackson,” performed by Michael Knight; “Johnny Cash” performed by Paul Eve, and “Elvis Presley,” performed by Travis Powell.

Each does a four or five number “set” amid a production making each, at a minimum, a wonderful distinctive concert, and most, especially Michael Jackson’s set, a mini production, unlike anything else offered in Branson. Although, just about every number in every set could be considered a highlight, I will mention just one from each set:

Kenny Chesney: The ballad “You Had Me From Hello” and how the audience was invited to come to the front of the theatre and dance, becoming part of their own entertainment experience.

Taylor Swift: “Never Ever Getting Back Together,” along with its introduction, was extremely entertaining both musically and in the way it was presented. The costume changes during the set were amazing!

Blues Brothers: “Soulman,” as was the case with every number during their set, was energetically performed with great support from the dancers, and some great moves by “Elwood.” Don’t know how these guys can do it, but they do and the audience loved it.

Michael Jackson: “Thriller,” with Knight’s performance and the special effects, dancers, and Michael’s “moves” was probably my WOW moment in the whole show, and that’s saying a lot because it is one great show and I am not a Michael Jackson fan.

Johnny Cash: Loved his performance of “Ring of Fire” and his introduction to it.

Elvis: “My Way” was beautifully done and has special meaning to me.

Some make the mistake of getting up and leaving after Elvis, but then they miss one of the highlights of the show, the whole cast Finale including “Viva Las Vegas.” It is something you definitely don’t want to miss!

As great as the individual tribute performers are, without great special effects, choreography, and costuming; along with a great band, and dancers and singers talented enough to not only perform different genres of music, but virtually perform six different “mini shows,” for six different stars, within one amazing production, this show would not be the great entertainment experience it is. It is their consistent performance show after show, star after star that, in this writer’s opinion, is the real “legend” behind the Legends in Concert show.

The Legend’s band is composed of Kevin Allen, Band Director / Lead Guitar; Brian Zerbe, Bass Guitar; Eddie Howard, Drums; and Lyman Clark, Keyboard. Legend’s dancers are Kenya Wilhite, also a singer; Desta Pritchett, also a singer; Cindy Dardas; Aaron Lemoine; and Landy Saavedra.

This is a show that totally entertains from start to finish with “legendary” entertainers, wonderful special effects, live music, dancers, and spectacular Las Vegas choreography and production. There’s nothing else like it anywhere else in Branson and is proof positive why Legends in Concert is billed as the “World’s Greatest Live Tribute Show.” For additional information or tickets for Legends in Concert, or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services; call 1-800-785-1550 or visit www.BransonTourismCenter.com

Five reasons the New South Gospel show is Grand!

Jackie Brown and New South, Jon Drockelman, Left, Luke Menard, David Ragan, and Mark McCauley during performance of "Running My Last Mile."

Jackie Brown and “New South,” Jon Drockelman, Left, Luke Menard, David Ragan, and Mark McCauley during performance of “Running My Last Mile.”

My bride and I got to experience the New South Gospel Show last week and what a wonderful experience it was! Gospel music in a Branson show is not unusual and Branson has a number of pure gospel shows, but, in my opinion, this show stands alone for a number of reasons. Here are five of those reasons:

  1. Uniqueness: This, once a week Thursday afternoon show, is the only Branson gospel show performed by a cast who also regularly performs in one of Branson’s most popular non-gospel evening shows. The stars of New South Gospel also star in the Grand Jubilee show at 7:30 PM, every evening of the week, except Sunday.
  1. Great Gospel and Inspirational Music: From the opening number, “Gonna Be Some Changes Made,” to the finale, “Statue of Liberty,” this show is filled with a wonderful variety of gospel and inspirational music including such favorites as “Havin’ A Little Talk With Jesus,” “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” “The Lighthouse,” “Peace In the Valley,” “Low Down the Chariot,” “He,” “Chariots of Fire,” and many more.
Jamie Haage, a.k.a. Jim Dandy, shown here singing, "Peace In The Valley," is as good a singer as he is a comedian and, he is one heck of a comedian.

Jamie Haage, a.k.a. Jim Dandy, shown here singing, “Peace In The Valley,” is as good a singer as he is a comedian and, he’s one heck of a comedian.

  1. Award Winning Cast: In a town filled with top notch talent, it is certainly worth noting that this cast is one of the most awarded of any show in Branson. Among others, these awards include:

New South, composed of David Ragan, Lead Vocalist; Luke Menard, Tenor; Jon Drockelman, Baritone; and Mark McCauley, Bass, has won the “Branson Quartet of the Year” and “Branson Gospel Group of the Year.”

Jackie Brown, Female Vocalist, has won the “Branson Female Vocalist of the Year,”

Jamie Haage as “Jim Dandy,” has won “Branson Comedian of the Year.”

The Grand Band, composed of Tracy Heaston, Piano/Keyboard & Music Director; Wayne Massengale, Fiddle and Acoustic Guitar; Larry Allred, Bass Guitar; Rob Blackburn, Drums; Gene Mulvaney, Steel Guitar; and Chad Cathell, Lead Guitar;  has not only won “Branson Band of the Year,” but individual awards for “Fiddle Player of the Year,” “Piano Player of the Year, “Drummer of the Year,” “Guitar Player of the Year,” and “Steel Guitar Player of the Year.”

  1. As Entertaining As It Is Inspirational: Producer Mike Patrick and Associate Producer Andy Holloway have produced a show that combines the exceptional talent, personality, and spirit of its cast with some of the greatest gospel and inspirational music of all time, colorful costuming, and a dash of “prayerful” comedy into a total experience that is as entertaining as it is inspirational. Whether it’s one of my favorites such as New South singing “Glory Road,” David Ragan’s featured solo of “The Light House,” Jackie Brown’s beautiful performance of “He,” Jim Dandy’s funny illustration on “answered prayer,” Tracy Heaston and the Grand Band’s magnificent rendition of “Chariots of Fire,” or any one of many others, this show seamlessly moves from one exciting, inspirational and entertaining moment to another.
  1. A Special Spirit: Sitting in the friendly comfort of the Grand Country Music Hall, surrounded with people who were there to share in an afternoon of gospel music, and hearing words being sung from the mouths of performers, some of whom I know personally, that I believe expresses what they feel in their hearts, filled me with peace and a special spirit. I just have to feel that I was not the only one who felt that way.

For additional information or tickets for The New South Gospel Show, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

SIX and Rockapella present Branson visitors with a unique limited time opportunity

Two of the finest a cappella groups anywhere, SIX, top, and Rockapella.

Two of the finest a cappella groups anywhere, SIX, top, and Rockapella.

“What a fantastic opportunity to experience two of the finest a cappella groups performing today,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “For a limited time, between now and July 16, Branson visitors will be able to hear and see the amazing full-band a cappella sounds of one of Branson’s most popular shows SIX and, the group considered one of the originators of the sound, Rockapella, as they perform, just down the street from each other, on the famed Branson Strip,” she added.

SIX, composed of the six Knudsen brothers, Curtis, Lynn, Kevin, Jak, Barry, and Owen, turned their passion for a cappella music into a full time profession in 1995 and have never looked back. Tens of thousands of Branson visitors have sat in awe wondering where the band is as they hear amazing vocals and a “band” performing, but see no band, just the SIX Knudsen brothers.

Their performance of the full-band style of a cappella goes far beyond just “singing” a cappella. Percussion, strings, horns and other instruments can definitely be heard, but they’re nowhere to be seen! Honed from years of performing around the world for A-List celebrities and major corporations, every sound heard during their performance is made using only their voices.

And, it’s not just their a cappella singing! These guys have a keen wit, are naturally funny; displaying superb timing as they share family stories “along with wacky antics that include silly props and sound effects that, of course, come from their mouths!”

Rockapella, formed 1986, is credited with being one of the originators of the “full-band a cappella sound.” Although none of the original members are still in the group, Rockapella, has enjoyed a “phenomenal career since their inception and introduction “to a broad audience on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, an incredibly popular PBS show in the 90’s.” The current Rockapella line-up features Scott Leonard (since 1991, High Tenor), Jeff Thacher (1993, Vocal Percussionist), Steven Dorian (2010, Tenor), Calvin Jones (2013, Tenor), and Ryan Chappelle (2015, Bass).

They have become one of the world’s most sophisticated, lasting, and imitated vocal groups and have had a profound influence on the “new era of network television a cappella shows like NBC’s The Sing-Off, movies like Pitch Perfect, and innumerable college vocal groups. They’ve toured the globe and provided a funky powerful soundtrack to several generations of vocal music fans, while keeping it all fresh along the way. With buckets of catchy original pop songs, and complete contemporary revisions of sparkling Motown, pop, and soul classics, this group has always been the one to watch.”

The full-band a cappella sound experience, that both Rockapella and SIX audiences can expect, was summed up beautifully by Rockapella’s Jeff Thacher when he said, “There’s nothing between us and the audience; it’s very human music with nothing missing. No instruments, no tracks, no mirrors…but never lame.” In reporting about Rockapella, USA Today said, “The best musical instrument of all is the human voice – if you’ve seen Rockapella you know that’s the truth.”

“A cappella music lovers, and those who just love great music and entertainment should not miss this opportunity to experience these two fabulous groups,” said Branson Tourism Center’s Wood. “What’s even better is that you can save money by buying your show tickets in a package along with lodging and attractions. For additional information or tickets for SIX or Rockapella and packages please call one of our Branson based Travel Planners at 1-866-593-9740. They will be delighted to answer any questions you might have about Branson hotels, shows, or attractions and assist you in planning your Branson trip. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM.

The Best of Branson July 2016 Insider Highlights

Part of the excitement and action of Buckets N Boards.

Part of the excitement and action of Buckets N Boards.

“With so many families vacationing in Branson during July, the sound of people laughing and having fun together is just about at every turn, as they enjoy all that Branson has to offer,” said Preston Garrison, the Operations Manager Branson Tourism Center. “From the delightful sandy beach on Table Rock Lake, to the new 150-foot tall Branson Ferris Wheel, acrobats, amazing pets, tigers, and over 100 live shows and other attractions Branson has a ‘lot’ of something for everyone in your family to enjoy,” he added.

In addition to everything else Branson offers, here’s our highlight list, containing some of the best of the additional events going on in Branson during July, including our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month:

Featured Show of the Month: Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies brings some of Ireland’s best to Branson!  This exciting production combines two great groups of performers; four beautiful ladies with angelic voices and five of the country’s finest tenors performing a unique blend of traditional folk ballads and classical and adult contemporary favorites.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Buckets N Boards delivers Branson entertainment that easily stands out in a long list of excellent shows!  Co-creators Matt and Gareth share their impeccable and slightly wacky skills that include precise percussion on a variety of surfaces, accompanied by delightfully silly songs, tap dancing, and lots of laughter!

 Featured Event of the Month: There just has to be two this month. Branson has a number of outstanding fireworks displays over the Fourth of July Weekend. Click here for more information. In addition, Santa Claus is coming to Branson in a big way as hundreds of Santa Clauses and Mrs. Santa Clauses come to Branson for the 10th Annual Discover Santa Convention July 6 through 10. Don’t miss the “Parade of Red Suits,” as they parade down the Branson Landing Promenade together starting at 8:00 AM on July 7. It is one of the largest gatherings of Santa’s anywhere and is something unique and wonderful for families to enjoy together.

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT PERFORMANCES (Sorted by starting date)

Jul 1: Crystal Gayle & TG Sheppard
Jul 1-Jul 16: Rockapella
Jul 1-29: Prince Ivan
Jul 1-Jul 31: Buckets N Boards
Jul 15: Tanya Tucker
Jul 23: Wynonna Judd

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Jul 1 – Jul 24: Silver Dollar City Star Spangled Summer Festival
Jul 1 – Jul 31: 2016 World Exclusive Exhibit – Titanic Museum Attraction
Jul 2 – Jul 4: List of 4th of July Fire Works Displays and Celebrations
Jul 6 – Jul 10: Branson Star Power at Branson Convention Center
Jul 6 – Jul 10: Discover Santa 2016 Convention
Jul 7: Discover Santa 2016 – “The Parade of Red Suits”
Jul 9: Promenade Pop-Up Shop
Jul 16: Ozarks Teen Challenge – Home of Hope 5K
Jul 16: Jubilation Jazz Big Band Performance
Jul 17 – Jul 23: FASA’s Girls World Series 14U to 18U
Jul 19 – Jul 24: Showbiz National Talent Competition – 2016 National Finals
Jul 24 – Jul 30: FASA’s Girls World Series 7U to 12U
Jul 30 – Aug 5: Ball Parks of America Bring the Lumber Baseball Tournament

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550.