Category Archives: Shows

An old Branson tradition just keeps shuffling on

Two popular Branson shows, AYO starring the Voices of Glory and SIX will be shuffling off to new theaters for the 2017 season.

Two popular Branson shows, AYO starring the Voices of Glory and SIX, are among the those that will be shuffling off to new theaters for the 2017 season.

Not to be confused with the “Shindig Shuffle,” that’s part of Branson’s unique fun filled Ozark Mountain Shindig, the traditional, “Branson shuffle” is well underway. Ever since The Baldknobbers started it all and Presleys’ Country Jubilee opened the first show on what is now the famed “Branson Strip,” decades ago; the Branson Shuffle has been a part of Branson’s live entertainment.

The Baldknobbers, “shuffled” from their original location in historic downtown Branson before settling into their current location on the Branson Strip in 1969. Ironically, Branson’s iconic first show on the Branson Strip, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, has never been involved in the Branson Shuffle, and will be celebrating their 50th year in their original location during 2017.

It’s uncertain whether the “shuffle” relates more to the shuffling of cards or a dance, but one thing is certain, it does involve movement and change. Each year, there is a “shuffle” as some shows move from one theatre to another into the locations and timeslots that they believe will best enable them to develop, grow, and provide Branson visitors with the best entertainment experience. Here’s the current status of the Branson Shuffle, sorted alphabetically, as of December 14, 2016:

#1 Hits of the 60s: Clay Cooper Theatre
Abba Tribute: Thank You for the Music: Hamners’ Variety Theater
Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai: Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre*
AYO staring the Voices of Glory: Starlite
Billy Dean: Jim Stafford Theatre
Beach Boys California Dreamin: Hamners’ Variety Theater
Blackwoods: Dutton Theatre
George Dyer: Americana
Raiding the Country Vault: Starlite Theatre
SIX: Hughes Brothers Theatre

The result of the Branson Shuffle is a source of excitement and anticipation during this time of the year in Branson. It’s born not only because of the physical move, but the show changes and innovation that often accompanies such moves the next season because of the location and physical attributes of the new venue.

The Branson Tourism Center’s Branson Show List, updated on a daily basis as information becomes available, is Branson’s most current list of shows, schedules, ticketing and other information. If more information on the status of the Branson Shuffle for Branson’s 2017 shows is desired, please call one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Travel Planners at 1-800-785-1550. They will be delighted to answer any questions you might have about Branson shows, hotels, 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 “Mickey Gilley Theatre” through the 2016 season.

Six awesome reasons why you don’t want to miss Branson’s Christmas Week!

Silver Dollar City's Old Time Christmas, New Year's Eve with Legends in Concert, the Amazing Pets Show ,and Tanger Outlet.

Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas, New Year’s Eve with Legends in Concert, the Amazing Pets Show ,and Tanger Outlets are just a few of the almost infinite choices awaiting Branson visitors during Branson’s Christmas Week.

Branson’s Christmas Week, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, offers Branson visitors the same world class shopping and entertainment experience that makes Branson one of the premier vacation destinations in America,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “From tigers and butterflies, to acrobats, drive through Christmas lighting displays, museums, world class shopping, New Year’s Eve celebrations second to none, and so much more; if you’re looking for fun, entertainment, excitement and adventure as part of your Christmas vacation then Branson’s Christmas Week in Branson is the place for you!” he added.

Here’s a list of six reasons why:

1.Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas Festival: Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas Festival is one of the Nation’s top Christmas events. Its spectacular display of five million Christmas lights throughout the park, entertainment, parade, Broadway style shows, and much more has been recognized and featured nationally by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel, Good Morning America and many others.

Although the award winning 1880s styled theme park, lit with over 5 million sparkling Christmas lights, is filled with shows; crafts; unique shopping; food; weather permitting, dozens of exciting rides and demonstrating craftsmen; and other activities, something special begins to happen each evening at dusk, in the Square on Main Street. First, the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree comes to life, with its 350,000 colorful sparkling LED lights, choreographed to Christmas music, and making over 100 light changes per second. In its glow, “the most famous reindeer of all” leads Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade with its nine musical floats, illuminated with 200,000 ultra-bright LED lights; 33 colorful costumed characters, including Bumble the Abominable Snowman, 14-foot moose characters, 12-foot tall elves and 10-foot candy canes, plus penguins, elves and a troupe of marching wooden soldiers.”

2. Branson Shows: Although many of Branson’s shows are closed for the season, some of its most popular shows will be open during Branson’s Christmas Week presenting the live entertainment for which Branson is noted. This includes, in alphabetical order, The Acrobats of China, Amazing Pets, Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, Comedy Jamboree, Dixie Stampede, Grand Jubilee, Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety, The Haygoods, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Legends in Concert, Million Dollar Quartet, Moses, Pierce Arrow and the Showboat Branson Belle along with many more.

3. Branson Attractions: In addition to Silver Dollar City, the majority of Branson’s other attractions will be open offering visitors a range of exciting adventures and activities. How about an up close encounter with the tigers and other big cats at the National Tiger Sanctuary; a ziplining adventure on Branson Zip Lines, or an entertaining interactive experience aboard Branson’s Titanic Museum attraction. In addition to everything else the Titanic offers its passengers on a daily basis, it’s celebrating its spectacular Christmas and Winter Celebration, as magically, inside and out, the ship “hails the sights, sounds, and joy of the season” and is aglow with glittering lights, festive decorations, and the spirit of the Holidays.

And that’s just the beginning! With museums as varied at the Branson Dinosaur Museum and the World Largest Toy Museum, the unique “White Flight” exhibit at the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure; the Promised Land Zoo, hiking on one of our beautiful Ozark trails, golf, fishing, and so much more, it’s hard to imagine a travel destination, anywhere near Branson’s size that could offer more.

4. Spectacular Christmas Lighting Displays: Although Christmas Day is past, all the major drive through Christmas lighting displays will remain open through December 31. This includes the Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights, Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village, Branson’s Gift of Lights and the giant 30 foot nativity scene on top of Mount Branson overlooking Lake Taneycomo and historic downtown Branson.

5. Branson Shopping: Shopping is an important part of the Branson experience and Branson’s Christmas Week is no exception. From the quaint specialty shops offering arts and crafts and one of a kind items; to the shops of Historic Downtown Branson, featuring “Dicks 5 & 10,” the unique “Branson Landing,” with its 100 retail stores, and outlet malls such as “Tanger Outlets” and “The Meadows,” Branson’s Christmas Week shopping will satisfy the most avid shopper.

6. New Year’s Eve: From the midnight fireworks at the Chateau on the Lake to a New Year’s Eve party while cruising Lake Taneycomo aboard Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess, a 100 foot luxury yacht, or one of the unique celebrations by one of Branson’s shows, both 2016 and Branson’s Christmas Week fade away and 2017 emerges as only Branson can do it. It’s hard to imagine a more unique, entertaining or exciting New Year’s Eve than one spent with some of Branson’s most popular shows as they welcome in 2017 with their unique New Year’s Eve celebrations including:

Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve (Clay Cooper and Haygoods joint celebration)
Grand Jubilee
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show
Hughes Brothers New Year’s Eve Show
Legends in Concert
Million Dollar Quartet
Pierce Arrow

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison advises advanced planning and reservations for any trip to Branson during the Christmas Season because of the off season scheduling of shows, limited seating, and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are closed. He suggests that an easy way to avoid problems, save time and, in many cases, money, is by simply calling the Branson Tourism Center, toll free at 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of their Branson based Travel Planners who will be delighted to answer any questions and assist in making any show or lodging reservations. There is absolutely no charge for this service.

 

It’s no illusion, the diversity of Branson music shows is absolutely amazing!

The Million Dollar Quartet, David Brooks as Jerry Lee Lewis, left, on the piano; Brad Waters as "Carl Perkins;" Austin Wilson as "Jay Perkins," the bass player; Tyler K. Hunter as "Elvis Presley;" and Cliff Wright as "Johnny Cash"

The Million Dollar Quartet, David Brooks as Jerry Lee Lewis, left, on the piano; Brad Waters as “Carl Perkins;” Austin Wilson as “Jay Perkins,” the bass player; Tyler K. Hunter as “Elvis Presley;” and Cliff Wright as “Johnny Cash”

“From the magic of Illusionist Rick Thomas to Reza Edge of Illusion, and many in-between, Branson is blessed with a variety of some of the finest illusionists in the world, but one thing is for certain, the quality and diversity of Branson’s music shows is no illusion!” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Here’s four shows, from our list of Most Popular and Requested Branson Shows, that illustrate the point,” she added.

Million Dollar Quartet: A singular moment, when four of the most extraordinary musical talents of our time, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, came together for one unforgettable night, is captured in this amazing production based on an actual event! Even neater, is the fact that the music in this show, songs such as That’s All Right, I Walk the Line, Riders in the Sky, Hound Dog, Peace in the Valley, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Blue Suede Shoes, and many more, are songs many already know and grew up with, not songs specifically written for the show. When I saw this show I said, “Over the last three decades, I have seen many Branson shows of all types, but never one like the Million Dollar Quartet! An outstanding cast, timeless music that everyone knows, and a great story line combine with the show’s unique set and great production to create an incredible entertainment experience for the whole family that should not be missed.”

The Haygoods: An amazing Branson experience! Excellent choreography, exquisite harmonies, state-of-the-art sound and special effects, a delightful sense of humor, and energy that never quits, you get it all in one show from one phenomenal family! In a recent review of this show I wrote, “Based on over 30 years of seeing Branson shows…I can testify to the fact that The Haygoods show is a WOW, WOW, and WOW, on a Three WOW Index with three WOWs being as high as you can get! From the ‘Get go,’ it’s two hours of the most unique, innovative, talented, energetic, personable, and exciting entertainment you will ever experience on a Branson stage.”

Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express: This show is great country music and so much more. When you take an entertainer like Clay Cooper and blend in a great band, some of the best dancers and choreographed dance routines in Branson, the comedy of Matt Gumm, the rope and gun handling performance of Johnny Lonestar and the strategically placed vocal performances of other cast members, it is over two hours of the finest nonstop “express,” or otherwise, entertainment in Branson hosted by a performer who can work an audience as beautifully as he sings and his wife choreographs and dances.”

The amazing SIX.

The amazing SIX.

SIX: This unique show is another outstanding example of the diversity of Branson’s music shows. You will hear the sounds of percussion, strings, horns and other instruments, but they’re just nowhere to be found! You will experience two hours of the most unique, exciting, and memorable music you have ever heard; great vocals along with the sound of an actual band with all of the sounds, both vocal and instrumental, coming from the same place, the mouths of the SIX Knudsen brothers. It truly is an amazing thing to see, hear, and experience and something that will not soon be forgotten.

For more information on these or other great Branson shows or lodging 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

 

 

Just how good are you at Dixie Stampede Trivia?

The beautiful horses, color, pageantry of Dixie Stampede's Finale Finale .*

The beautiful horses, color, and pageantry of Dixie Stampede’s Finale .*

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is easily Branson’s most visited dinner attraction,” said Preston Garrison, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. With a twinkle in his eye, he added, “No surprise there, after all it’s billed as ‘The World’s Most Visited Dinner Attraction,’ but I’ve always wondered, just how many horseshoes do all those horses use each year?”

That got me thinking, outside of the fact that the answer to that question would make a great trivia question, that there’s an awful lot that goes into creating the fun, adventure, pageantry, and excitement that those attending Dixie Stampede get to experience. Who better to turn to for answers and information about that than John Richardson, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction?

Richardson shared a list of facts that was developed by Dixie Stampede, in response to questions that guests have asked about the show and its animals, that “illustrates the scope and scale of its production.” We thought it would be fun to take that information and present it in a Question and Answer (Q&A) format, and hope that you find it as interesting and fascinating as we did:

Q: Where does the white sand for the arena floor come from and how much is used each year?
A: Over 200 tons of white sand is “imported” from South Carolina for the arena floor each year.

Q: Why is that sand used and not some other material?
A: It creates a surface that is dust-free and gentler for the horses’ legs.

Q: How many yards of lace and ribbon are used on each Dixie Stampede Southern Belle costume?
A: Twenty yards.

Q: What are the dimensions of the “Conestoga Wagons” used in the show?
A: Each measures 25’8” long by 9’ high and is a true replica of those that carried settlers westward on the great wagon trains.

Q: What kind of horses are pulling the Wagons?
A: Each is pulled by teams of 2000-pound Belgian draft horses, known for their intelligence, size and strength.

Q: How many white doves of peace are released during the Patriotic Finale?
A: More than 50 which are raised and cared for on the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede premises. Doves are always born in pairs; the female hatches first followed by the more aggressive male.

Q: How much grain do the stars of Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, the 32 magnificent horses, consume each year?
A: 104,000 pounds of grain per year.

Q: How many bales of hay do they consume?
A: The horses consume 3,500 bales of hay per year, weighing approximately 262,500 pounds.

Q: How many horseshoes do the Dixie Stampede horses go through each year?
A: Over 1,152.

Q: What are the horses bedded on?
A: 13,200 bales of hay and approximately 528,000 pounds of pine shavings each year which is kept clean and dry by round-the-clock stable hands.

Q: How much does the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede’s buffalo herd weigh?
A: It weighs in at more than four tons.

The "Roman Ride" through a ring of fire.

The “Roman Ride” through a ring of fire.*

Q: What is the “Roman Ride?”
A: It’s an historic type of trick riding, featuring a team of two horses moving side-by-side with one rider standing astride them with one foot on each horse. Dixie Stampede’s Roman Riders have the added degrees of difficulty of splitting columns of fire, being surrounded by firefly torches, and ultimately jumping through the Hoop of Fire.

Q: What does its “signature four-course feast include?
A: Original creamy vegetable soup and a hot homemade biscuit; a tender whole rotisserie chicken; hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin; buttery corn on the cob; herb-basted potatoes; Dixie Stampede’s very own specialty dessert, and unlimited beverages, including Pepsi products. [Author’s Note: Having eaten it a number of times over the years, I can testify that it’s delicious and I have never left hungry!]

For more information or tickets for Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services at 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

* Courtesy of Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede

You’ll absolutely love the Duttons!

The Duttons, Benjamin, Timothy, Amy, Jonathon,Shelia, Abigail, and Dean

The Duttons, Benjamin, Timothy, Amy, Jonathon,Shelia, Abigail, and Dean

As I watched the Duttons show last week, I was again reminded why they have been so popular for so long and made it to the top ten on the NBC prime time hit show, “America’s Got Talent.” From their opening number, a medley, including the Fall Out Boys hit “Centuries,” “We Will Rock You,” and “Radioactive,” to their famed Finale, “Boil Them Cabbage Down,” it is a wonderful entertainment experience, filled with fun, great music, humor, inspiration, and that special Dutton warmth that simultaneously entertains and inspires the whole family.

The stars of the show, and the center around which it revolves, are the Dutton siblings Timothy, Benjamin, Jonathan, Abigail, and Amy, along with Tim’s wife Judith. Whether its vocal, instrumental, dancing or comedy, their talents alone are remarkable, but when the talents of drummer Rob Wilson, and other members of the Dutton family, are seamlessly integrated into the performance, the result is two hours of outstanding non-stop entertainment that simultaneously entertains adults as well as children.

The Dutton grand-kids, Benjamin Jr, Rachel, Isaac, Selina and Timmy doing a great job with "Jump, Jive and Wail." They are singing "Jump, Jive and Wail"

The Dutton grand-kids, Benjamin Jr, Rachel, Isaac, Selina and Timmy doing a great job with “Jump, Jive and Wail.”

I am not aware of a music show in Branson that is not suitable for children in terms of its content but, based on my personal experience, I can say that, with very few exceptions, such as it Starring the Hughes Brothers, the vast majority of Branson’s music shows have not been designed with a consistent flow of material and performers, strategically placed throughout the show, that will appeal to the children in the audience and hold their interest throughout. The Duttons does that “and then some!”

A perfect example, and one of my favorite numbers in the show, was their performance of “Cotton Eyed Joe.” The combination of their remarkable instrumental skills, with a neat “black light” performance featuring other members of the family, along with a demonstration of Benjamin’s superb dancing skills entertains both adults and children, throughout at the same high level.

From among many here are a few of my favorite highlights. Timothy Dutton demonstrated why he’s considered one of the most accomplished instrumentalists when he played a short segment of “Pachelbel’s Canon in D major” on a variety of instruments, from the violin and guitar to the mandolin and used a “looper” to combine them into “an orchestra.” WOW, was it ever something to see and hear; it was unbelievable. It’s hard to imagine a more entertaining, dramatic, or energetic performance of “The Orange Blossom Special” or “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” than the “Duttonized” version of these classics.

Amy’s performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons Summer Movement;” Tim and Judith’s duet of “You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All,” accented with the dancing of Shelia and Dean was as beautifully performed as it was touching; one of the most personal and sincere Veteran’s segments of any show in Branson; and their spectacular “patented” finale of “Boil Them Cabbage Down” were also favorites. “You Can Count On Me,” an inspiring and beautifully performed all family number, touched my heart because, to me, it captures what makes the Duttons so special; their commitment to each other, their craft, and entertaining their audience.

Cousin Julio "horning" in on Jonathan's banjo act.

Cousin Julio “horning” in on Jonathan’s banjo act.

Ok, I just have to mention cousin Julio, who, along with his straight man Jonathan, adds a large dose of humor to the show as he tries to “horn” in. It’s not only funny, but you won’t believe what he can do with those horns.

Some of you are probably asking, “Is there nothing in this show that you didn’t like?” The simple answer is, “Not much, not much at all.”

Previously I wrote, “From rock and roll to blue grass and country this show has a variety of music with something for everyone. It’s not the shows content alone however, that makes it so special. It’s how the Duttons present it! It’s that fabulous Dutton talent, instrumentality, flair, showmanship and their innate ability to instill that warm directly ‘from our family to you and your family’ feeling into its audience, that makes this show the unique, special and wonderful Branson entertainment experience that it is.” All I can say after seeing their show last week, is, “Ditto.”

For tickets or information for the Duttons show or for 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 by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Branson Up-Close and Personal with the “M & M” of the Hughes Brothers Family

Lena Hughes, the blessed and proud Mother of the Hughes Brothers and their families.

Lena Hughes, the blessed and proud Mom, Mother-in-Law, and Grandmother of the Hughes family.

It is certainly no exaggeration to say that the “M & M” of the Hughes brothers, first, and still, as their Mother and, for over two decades as their Manger, Lena Hughes has been with them, on their inspired journey, since the very beginning. Lena’s five extremely talented sons, their talented wives, and children, make up the “world’s largest performing family,” and star in two of Branson’s most popular shows, it starring the Hughes Brothers and the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Branson’s longest running totally Christmas show.

“Branson-Up Close and Personal,” is a service of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) and is intended to provide readers with an unprecedented look at a Branson celebrity or personality. The interview with Lena Hughes (LM) was conducted on July 28, 2016 for BTC by Gary J. Groman, a 30 year resident of the Branson area, local columnist and freelance writer, and is presented in a Question and Answer format:

BTC: In what town did you live prior to moving to Branson?
LH: Taylorsville, Utah.

BTC: Is that where the Hughes Brothers were born and raised?
LH: Yes.

BTC: For how many years did you live there?
LH:  26.

BTC: Did you perform with what was to become the “Hughes Brothers,” with your husband Gary, when they first started?
LH: Yes, I sang and played the clarinet; Gary played the accordion and sang

BTC: When was that?
LH: In the late 60’s.

BTC: What was the original name of the act?
LH: Oh, it was very original, “The Hughes Family Show.”

BTC: When did you and Gary stop performing?
LH: Around 1979. It then became the “Hughes Brothers Show.”

BTC: What role did you and Gary play with the show immediately after you stopped performing?
LH: That’s when I assumed the role of “M & M,” Mom and Manager and Gary ran the sound.

BTC: What did the Hughes Brothers do between 1983 and 1994?
LH: Traveled around the country performing from our home in Taylorsville.

BTC: When did you come to Branson?
LH: 1995

BTC: So in general terms, the Hughes Brothers have only lived in two places, Taylorville, UT and Branson, MO.
LH: Yes.

BTC: How big a gamble was it for the Hughes family to move to Branson?
LH: It was a big gamble, but the real story lies in all the things that pushed us to Branson.

BTC: What pushed you to Branson?
LH: It was a power bigger than us that we couldn’t fight. Consistently, over the years, as we performed people would tell us about Branson and suggest that it would be a perfect place for us to perform and, from the magazine in the Doctor’s office with the Osmonds in Branson on the front cover, to the man who finally helped us break into Branson, and much more in between, it just seemed like Branson was the place where we were supposed to be. After much prayer and getting a short contract with Silver Dollar City, the whole family moved to Branson in 1995.

BTC: What did the gamble involve?
LH: Selling our home and business and uprooting our entire family. Up to that time, the Hughes Brothers was not our only source of income because we had other income coming in from our business, but that all changed when we moved to Branson.

BTC: What’s your fondest memory of the time you spent in Taylorsville?
LH: I have two; working in my garden without any rocks in it and just watching the boys develop their talents.

BTC: What did you do between Silver Dollar City and the time you purchased the “Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre?”
LH: Persisted and, in faith, walked through every door that opened, as we developed our own show and were ready when the door opened and presented us with the opportunity to buy our own theatre.

BTC: When and what was that?
LH: In January of 2000 when Jim Thomas offered us the opportunity to buy the “Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre.”

BTC: Was it smooth sailing after that?
LH: Well the opportunity was a blessing, but it involved a miracle to fully bring it to fruition on the very last day, almost five years later.

BTC:  When did that happen?
LH: October 4, 2004.

BTC: Did you and Gary decide to add to the family after the boys had grown up?
LH: Yes, we adopted four, two sisters and a brother and sister from Russia in 2003. They were between the ages of 9 and 13.

BTC: When did the Hughes Brothers start incorporating other family members into the act?
LH: Over 20 years ago, when Kristina was about a year and half old and started coming up on stage and performing while we were at Silver Dollar City. Obviously, it has steadily evolved since then, to the point of where we are today.

Lena and her late husband Gary, surrounded by the Hughes family.

Lena and her late husband Gary, surrounded by the Hughes family in this 2013 Christmas photo.

BTC: What do you feel when you see your sons performing on stage with their wives and your grandchildren?
LH: I’m so inspired and think to myself, “This is why we do this.”

BTC: What’s your favorite part about this year’s it starring the Hughes Brothers?
LH: I really like the last number where about 20 of the children, ranging in age from 9 to 16, sing Children Will Listen. It’s beautifully arranged and performed and has such an inspirational message.

BTC: If a mother called you up and said, “Why should I bring my family to your show?” what would your response be?
LH: Families just love our show because its great entertainment that connects to all ages throughout the whole show, while reminding them so much of their own family, as they sense how much our family loves each other and being together.

BTC: Is the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show really 100 percent Christmas?
LH: It absolutely is!

BTC: Is there something special and unique about the living Nativity in the Hughes Brothers Christmas show?
LH: Yes, we are the only show in Branson, if not the whole world, that’s been able to produce a live “Baby Jesus,” from within the family, for the past 20 years.

BTC: What’s your fondest memory of the 21 years you have spent in Branson?
LH: My fondest memory is the day we took over total ownership of this theatre on October 4, 2004.

BTC: What one word best describes how you feel about being the “Mom,” “Mother-in-Law,” and “Grandmother” of the Hughes Brothers and their families?
LH: It has to be two words, “Blessed” and “Proud.” “Blessed” speaks for itself, but what I am “Proud” of is simply that they are just such good people.

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.

Grand Country is the place for grand shows, food and fun!

 

 

The quartet "New South," Luke Menard, left, David Ragan, Jon Drockelman; and Mark McCauley.

The quartet “New South,” Luke Menard, left, David Ragan, Jon Drockelman; and Mark McCauley.

“Regardless of the weather or the time of the year, if you’re looking for grand live entertainment, food, and fun in one place, the Grand Country Complex is hard to beat,” said Preston Garrison, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “With all it offers, Grand Country is virtually a ‘one stop’ vacation’ destination,” he continued.

Branson is noted for its shows and, from country and comedy to pets and gospel, the Grand Country complex’s “Grand Country Music Hall” offers a variety of shows sure to entertain just about every member of the family. A great way for families with children to start their day is by seeing Amazing Pets, a show that delights children and the young of heart. Along with many other magical surprises, a loveable troupe of cats and dogs, many which have been rescued from dog pounds and humane societies across the country, light up the faces of their audience with excitement, awe, and anticipation as they perform their amazing feats.

The award winning  Grand Jubilee performs the evening show in the Music Hall. Produced by Mike Patrick, and featuring one of Branson’s most rewarded quartets, “New South,” the vocals of Jackie Brown, along with the comedy and talents of Jamie Haage as “Jim Dandy,” this show is perennially listed on BTC’s Most Popular Shows List.

In a recent review of the Grand Jubilee I said, “It might seem like a cliché, but the Grand Jubilee is truly ‘grand’ entertainment. I laughed until I hurt, listened to some of the most talented musicians and vocalists I have ever heard, in Branson or anywhere else, and was thoroughly entertained by a fast moving production that held my interest throughout. It was over all too quickly.”

And that’s just two of the many shows that perform in the Music Hall. In addition, it is the home of Down Home Country, Comedy Jamboree, New South Gospel, Branson Country USA, Sunday Gospel Jubilee and Ozark Mountain Jubilee.

The Grand Country Inn.

The Grand Country Inn.

The “Grand Country Inn” offers a variety of clean, relaxing and spacious rooms with full amenities. “Splash Country Indoors,” Missouri’s first indoor water park, is connected to the Inn offering its guests 20,000 square feet of spraying, tumbling, and falling, watery fun, 365 days a year, regardless of what the weather is like outside.

Its “Grand Country Buffet” is one of Branson’s most popular buffets offering a bewildering selection of items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Pappa Grand’s Pizza” and “Glenn’s Frozen Custard” are also located within the complex and there are a number of restaurants within walking distance including, one of Branson’s most popular, “Billy Bob’s Dairyland.”

Grand Country also offers many other exciting things for families to enjoy. This includes a candy and fudge shop, huge gift shop, both indoor and outdoor miniature golf, and the “Fun Spot,” featuring a state of the art video arcade game facility that has the most popular video and arcade games of every style. From motocross racing to space exploring, it has all the latest arcade attractions including the “White River Black Light Mini-Golf Course” in 3D; Mini-Bowling with cool lights illuminating the bowling lanes along with rockin’ videos and music and much more

For additional information on the Grand Country Complex, its shows, lodging, or entertainment, please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Actually, how terrific is the amazing Haygoods show?

Beauty and elegance. upside down high flying excitement, and extraordinary special effects are just part of what makes The Haygoods such an amazing entertainment experience for the whole family!

Beauty, talent, and elegance, upside down high flying excitement, and extraordinary special effects are just part of what makes The Haygoods such an amazing entertainment experience for the whole family!

Based on over 30 years of seeing Branson shows and having seen the show on May 6, I can testify to the fact that it’s, “Really terrific!” The Haygoods show is a WOW, WOW, and WOW, on a Three WOW Index with three WOWs being as high as you can get! From the “Get go,” its two hours of the most unique, innovative, talented, energetic, personable, and exciting entertainment you will ever experience on a Branson stage.

An indication of just how special this show was going to be happened during the pres-how being presented by the extremely talented Cabot High School Jazz Band, from Cabot, Arkansas. Many Branson shows work with schools and other groups and give them the opportunity to perform a pre-show on their stage, that’s not unusual. I’ve seen many, but I have never seen one of the stars of the show come out and perform a complete number with those doing the pre-show. Imagine how surprised and delighted the audience was when Dominic Haygood came out and was featured with them on the saxophone playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It wasn’t just that he did it, within 15 minutes of the start of his own show, but the way he did it. The effort he put into the performance kind of set the tenor for the quality and heart of the entertainment that the Haygoods were about to present and, WOW, did they ever present it!

It’s first and foremost a music show with impeccable vocals and instrumentality presented by the six Haygood siblings, five brothers, Timothy, Patrick, Dominic, Michael, and Matthew; their sister Catherine, and drummer Dino Phillips, but it is so much more! Their very first number, Lionel Richie’s song, Dancing on the Ceiling, set the bar, not only vocally and instrumentally, but in terms of the show’s, excitement, energy, and audience expectation, not only with the way they performed the number, but the dramatic entrance of Michael Haygood from “the ceiling;” and that bar went nowhere except up from there!

The Haygoods, Timothy, left, Catherine, Dominic, Matthew, and Michael performing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

The Haygoods, Timothy, left, Catherine, Dominic, Matthew, and Michael performing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

Some sibling singing groups are blessed with a God given sound that makes their harmonies a joy to hear. The Haygoods have that blessing along with an instrumental talent that is amazing. When the Haygoods combine the two, a synergy is created that just has to be experienced to be believed. Except for intermission, they are on the stage for the whole two hours either playing, dancing, singing, or interacting with the audience. From a primary instrumental perspective Timothy plays fiddle and banjo; Dominic, fiddle and saxophone, Matthew, bass, Michael Guitar, Patrick, keyboard, and Catherine, who, playing the most instruments of all, plays anything from the harp to the fiddle.

Although Patrick Haygood is not "center stage" a lot he does a great job on the keyboards, vocals, and is playing the keyboard or giving vocal support on just about every number.

You don’t see Patrick Haygood “center stage” a lot, but he does a great job on the keyboards and impacts so much on just about every number in the show.

Musically, what makes this show so terrific is not just that some very talented performers are singing or playing. It’s the total experience that results when their entire skill and talent set is blended together with special effects and choreography, making each set a unique and amazing entertainment experience in a show where, although there is no individual star, each number sparkles brightly amid a Haygood galaxy of constantly changing stars. The show’s filled with WOW numbers, but three of my personal favorites were Born to Fly, with Catherine on vocals, featuring Dominic and Tim on the fiddle and banjo respectively; Cotton Eyed Joe as it literally lights up the stage , not only with great singing and playing, but some of the most marvelous and exciting specific effects I have ever seen on a stage during a live musical show in Branson; and the performance of Always On My Mind featuring Michael on vocal, Patrick on piano, and Dominic on the sax.

The music would be enough on its own, but there is a high energy tap dancing routine, special effects and lighting the likes of which you will not see on any other Branson stage, and the way the Haygoods interact with their audience, from a personal history perspective as well as from a light comedy and “drama” point of view. Even now however, I have to wonder just why the show’s producer, Dominic Haygood, won’t give “Banjo Boy” his moment of fame, especially after the support he gets from the audience and the dramatic way he “flies in” to start the second half of the show?

The music, energy, action, and special effects of The Haygoods show will captivate and hold the interest of all adults and most children simultaneously throughout the show. As the ads say, “Where else can you check out a guitar-playing LED robot rocking’ out to ‘The Cotton Eye Joe’” or “see an amazing harp player performing in a magical light up dress.” In a town filled with great live entertainment, this show is a WOW on so many levels. It should not be missed!

For additional information or tickets for The Haygoods 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 by calling 1-800-785-1550 or visiting  www.BransonTourismCenter.com

Five awesome reasons to be in Branson for the Memorial Day Weekend

"KaPau Plummet" at White Water, Silver Dollar City's "Outlaw Run," Sight and Sound's "Moses" and Fireworks are just part of the fun and excitement in Branson over Memorial Day Weekend!

“KaPau Plummet” at White Water, Silver Dollar City’s “Outlaw Run,” Sight and Sound’s “Moses” and Fireworks are just part of the fun and excitement in Branson over Memorial Day Weekend!

“Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, but in terms of Branson’s Summer Season, it starts over Memorial Day Weekend,” said Preston Garrison, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest providers of tourism services and information. “From its pristine lakes and beautiful Ozarks scenery, to its shows, attractions, and dozens upon dozens of other activities Branson is ready to share the fun, adventure, and excitement of summer with its visitors,” he added.

Although there’s literally hundreds of awesome reasons to plan to spend any summer weekend or vacation in Branson, here’s a list of five that specifically focus on Memorial Day Weekend:

1. White Water, Southwest Missouri’s largest water park, opens with two million gallons of cool wet fun ensconced in a 13 acre Polynesian themed “island” in the middle of the Ozarks. Its $1.7 million thrill ride, KaPau Plummet, launches riders from a drop-floor four stories in the air into a 70-degree plunge into a thrilling 240-foot spiraling loop slide to the bottom, and that’s just one ride! When you add in the iconic seven story multiple slide Kalani Towers; Aloha River at Hula Bay, with “over 800 feet of unexpected twists and turns, fountains, misters, bubblers, geysers, and a 30-foot tall tiki water tower; and so much more, it’s easy to understand why White Water is sometimes referred to as “Mid-America’s Nearby Island Adventure.”

2. Branson’s Pristine Lakes, Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, and Lake Taneycomo are a virtual aquatic paradise offering boating, swimming and a wide range of other water sports and activities, along with some of the finest bass and trout fishing anywhere. There are many opportunities to experience the beauty and relaxation of Branson’s lakes such as by boat, canoe or kayak; walking along the Branson Landing Boardwalk; hiking one of the many lakes trails; sitting on a sandy beach, or while cruising aboard cruise boats such as the Showboat Branson Belle, Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen or Landing Princess.

3. Fireworks will light up the Memorial Day Weekend sky over the Ozarks in two major firework displays at dusk on Sunday evening, May 29. One display will be at the Chateau on the Lake, as part of its Memorial Day Celebration, and the other at Big Cedar Lodge, as part of its Patriotic Picnic and Fireworks event. The public is invited to both; with the best views from Table Rock Lake, the property’s grounds or, in the case of the Chateau on the Lake, the peninsula area located just north of the Table Rock Dam to the west of its auxiliary spillways.

4. Moses, Sight and Sounds newest spectacular biblical production to perform in Branson, “is the most spectacular, technologically advanced, show that Sight & Sound Theaters has ever put on stage,” said Mike Pitman, the Business Development Manager for the theatre. This powerful and epic biblical story follows Moses on his quest for personal identity that would change the course of human history. Journey back to that time with your family and witness some of the greatest moments in biblical history; experience the exhilaration and celebration of the Israelites as they brush past you on their path to freedom; feel God’s awe-inspiring power as you sit in the midst of the parted Red Sea, and the moment He first speaks to Moses at the burning bush, all presented as only Sight and Sound can depict.

The iconic violin played by bandmaster Wallace Hartley as the Titanic sank.

The iconic $1.7 million dollar Titanic violin, played by bandmaster Wallace Hartley as the Titanic sank, on exclusive exhibit at the Titanic Museum Attraction through May 29.

5. The Titanic Museum Attraction’s exclusive Branson presentation of the $1.7 Million Dollar Bandmaster Titanic Violin through May 29. RMS Titanic bandleader, Wallace Hartley’s violin has become the iconic symbol of the Titanic saga. Found strapped to his body after the sinking, it was returned to his wife-to-be, only to be lost to the world until it resurfaced almost a century later. Now, for the first time since an unnamed owner took possession of the violin, visitors to the Titanic Museum Attractions will be able to experience for themselves, the overwhelming sense of emotion it evokes,” says Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, co-owner of the Titanic Attractions.

And that doesn’t include all the rest of the fun, excitement, adventure and live shows that Branson is noted for. BTC’s Garrison points out that Memorial Day Weekend is not only the start of Branson’s Summer Season, but one of the busiest weekends of the year. He suggests advance reservations for shows and lodging to ensure not only availability, but the best seating and accommodations. For additional information on Branson’s Memorial Day Weekend activities or information on tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.