There’s country music shows and there’s Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express!

Clay Cooper singing "Rhinestone Cowboy."

BRANSON, Mo., September 15, 2013 – If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to read long “review,” pieces about shows, here’s all you have to know. Saying Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express Show in Branson is just another country music show makes about as much sense as saying “a California Redwood” is just another tree.” There’s trees and there’s California Redwoods; there’s country music shows and there’s Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express.

What makes it so exceptional? In a nutshell, the overall quality of the production; its star, both in terms of his voice and ability to actually make the audience a part of the performance; the magnificent choreography and dancing and its supporting cast. From before the curtain goes up until it drops this show is an “express” ride through two plus hours of the most engaging, energetic and talented entertainment available in Branson hosted by a performer who can work an audience as beautifully as he sings and his wife choreographs and dances.

As I stood in line at the ticket window, about 30 minutes before the show started, I was behind two older ladies who were working out a ticket exchange with a lady in the box office for a performance the next day. The caring way that the person in the box office handled the situation touched my heart, no pressure, no hurry, just, “How can we serve you best?”

They didn’t know it, but they were talking with Tina Cooper, the wife of Clay Cooper, who would be dancing in the opening number of the show about 25 minutes later. During the show Clay points out all the things she does, choreography, dancing and more, but what stands out in my mind is the way she does what she does. The grace, elegance and beauty of her dancing in the show, to this writer, was a reflection of what I witnessed as she served those two women before the show and represents the spirit and culture that resonates throughout the show.

Clay and Tina Cooper performing a "duet" of "You Are The Love of My Life."

Obviously the show’s star is Clay Cooper who performs a variety of music during the show. From the Glen Campbell hit, “Rhinestone Cowboy” to a neat impersonation of the Blues Brother’s “Soul Man” with his son Colton, the singing talents of Clay Cooper on just about any style of music is evident. This writer’s two favorite “Clay” numbers were the Roy Orbison hit ballad “Crying” and his performance of “You Are the Love of My Life” sung as part of a beautiful duet where Clay sang and his wife Tina danced creating a unique beautiful, elegant and touching entertainment memory.

If that was his only talent that would be enough, but he has that innate Neil McCoy ability to relate to his audience and draw them into their own entertainment experience. I am sure that some of his lines are triggers for the crowd, but once they are pulled or he adlibs on his own, the result is a warm comfortable humor where everyone is laughing, having fun and wondering what is coming next. If our show was any indication it could be anything, even a delivery from Walgreen’s, delivered to the surprise and delight of the audience. One thing for sure, whether it is his singing or interacting with the crowd Clay Cooper is a master at his craft and one with his audience.

The second major element in the show is the shows dancing. It’s choreographer, and one of the dancers herself is Tina Cooper, who has been dancing professionally since 1989 and holds a “Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Music Theatre with a Minor in Dance” from the University of Oklahoma. What a joy it is to is sit back and enjoy the beauty, grace and elegance of the way that she and “Country Express Dancers” Sarah Blackerby, Kelly Smith, Jenn Turner, Kristin Chandler, Elizabeth Harris, Corey Hanson, Matthew Smith and Tommy D’Amico as they add a new unique dimension to one of the most entertaining shows in Branson and demonstrate why they are one of its top dancing troupes.

 The “Country Express Band” is composed of RP Harrell, Piano and Musical Producer; John Lance, keyboard; Barry Bales, guitar; Dave Clark, bass guitar and Jimmy Hyde, drums. Although their talent is obvious throughout the whole show it is highlighted in their performance of the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Running.” On an individual basis, RP Harrell’s performance of “Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy” and Dave Clark’s unique bass guitar performance of “Amazing Grace” were beautiful “Wow” moments.

Young Miss Ezrah Noelle.

Then there’s the preshow comedic antics of Matt Gumm, his talent as a musician and vocalist during the rest of the show; the amazing things that Johnny Lonestar does with a whip and rope and the voice and personality of ten year old singer Ezrah Noelle. When all the elements of this show are put together the result is “an ‘express’ ride through over two hours of the best, most unique, exciting, engaging and talented entertainment available in Branson.

Perhaps the words of the “two shadows,” friends who are kind enough to go with me and offer a second opinion, summed it up better. They said, “We absolutely recommend this show. Clay Cooper and the dancing is great, there is constant action, audience involvement and everyone is having fun.”

For additional information on the Clay Cooper Country Music Express Show or tickets for 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 calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website.

 

Material Connection

National Harvest Festival salutes craftsmanship and cowboys

One of many visiting artists and craftsmen.

BRANSON, Mo., September 12, 2013 — “Silver Dollar City’s annual National Harvest Festival (Festival), running from September 12 – October 26, is an excellent illustration of why the U.S. Congress proclaimed Silver Dollar City as ‘The Home of American Craftsmanship,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “The festival will feature over 125 visiting craftsmen and artists from all over the country along with Silver Dollar City’s 100 resident craftsman and artists,” she added.

The Festival offers a unique a opportunity to see craftsmen and artists demonstrate their craftsmanship and artistry on a variety of American crafts at one of the largest gatherings of some of the top craftsmen and artists in America. See demonstrations on crafts such as cornshuckery, weaving, jewelry making, glass blowing, knife making, cooperage, Native American flutes, gourd carving and dozens of others “including Best of Missouri Hands juried artists and a showcase of Western artists.”

The Festival’s theme will be the American Cowboy. “The Pinkerton Man,” an original new Western stunt show debuting during the 2012 Festival has been expanded to include “a bigger cast and expanded fight scenes.” The musical production is presented in the parks 4,000 seat Echo Hollow Amphitheatre because it’s the only venue in the park big enough to hold all the “high-flying action and special effects, including dramatic 3-story falls, high-slide rappels, hero fights, pyrotechnic effects and explosions, with professional stunt men and women leading a cast of 16, plus live animals, comedy and original live music performed by the ‘Sons of the Silver Dollar.’”

Texas Trick Riders.

New this year will be the new “Texas Trick Riders show which will be presented in Silver Dollar City’s Red Gold arena through October 6. The show has a troupe of 7 stunt riders and 9 horses who will perform “precision trick riding and daring stunts” from Roman riding to flying vaults and much more.

The Festival’s entertainment also includes Western musicians such as “double-Grammy-winning musicians and 7-time Western Music Association’s (WMA)  ‘Entertainers Of the Year’ “Riders in the Sky;” WMA Crescendo Award winner “The Quebe Sisters Band” and others. Other featured events include Kent Rollins, a ranch owner whose chuck wagon cooking talents has put him on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” will be demonstrating trail-side cooking; mustang expert Fred Woehl will tame and train rescued wild mustangs and three-time winner of the Academy of Western Artists’ “Will Rogers Award,” Cowboy Poet Chris Isaacs will present cowboy stories and poems.

Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson points out that all of the activities of the National Harvest Festival are in addition to everything else the award winning 1880′s theme park offers on a daily basis including 30 rides and attractions. Recently its new Outlaw Run wooden coaster received the coveted “Golden Ticket for Best New Ride” from “Amusement Today Magazine.”

In term of value and being able to enjoy all that Silver Dollar City has to offer at your leisure, she points out that the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) has two day Silver Dollar City tickets for the price of a one day ticket. For additional information or tickets for Silver Dollar City, the National Harvest Festival or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact BTC by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website http://www.bransontourismcenter.com/.

 

Latest Info Branson Fall season Limited Engagement performances

Bill Cosby

BRANSON, Mo., September 9, 2013 – “On a daily basis Branson is blessed with some of the finest entertainers anywhere presenting almost 100 live shows per day offering a quality and variety of live entertainment that is absolutely amazing,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. She explained that it is these “resident” Branson Shows that form the foundation upon which Branson’s live entertainment reputation is based.

Supplementing that foundation and giving Branson visitors more exciting live entertainment choices are the periodic limited engagement performances of nationally known performers and acts. These performances are for a limited specific period of time and are typically for short periods of time, some as short as one performance.

In addition to the Fall foliage and everything else Branson has to offer a number of nationally known stars and acts will be performing limited engagements in Branson this Fall. The following list, obtained from the Official Branson.Com Show Schedule, powered by the Branson Tourism Center, is sorted alphabetically with a link for each to scheduling, ticket pricing and other information:

A Wartime Romance

Lee Greenwood

Bill Cosby

Charlie Daniels Band

Charley Pride

Clint Black

Crystal Gayle, T.G. Sheppard and Janie Fricke

 

Daniel O'Donnell

Daniel O’Donnell

David Frizzell & Shelly West

Diamond Rio

Don Williams

Gatlin Brothers

Dinner with Yakov

Grits and Glamour Tour

Starring Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan

Happy Together

Featuring Flo and Eddie, Mickey Dolenz, Gary Puckett & Union Band, and Mark Lindsay

Jim Belushi & The Chicago Board of Comedy

John Anderson

John Conlee & Bobby Bare

John Michael Montgomery

 

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

Lynn Anderson

Marty Stuart

Mel Tillis

Midwest Country Stars

Neal McCoy

Oak Ridge Boys

Rich Little

Ronnie Milsap & Connie Smith

Ronnie McDowell and the Sweethearts of the Rodeo

Sawyer Brown

Steve Wariner and Jeannie Seely

The Grascals Appearing At Larry’s Country Diner

Wilson and Fairchild Appearing At Larry’s Country Diner

Although not limited engagement shows it should be pointed out that the last scheduled performance of the Roy Rogers Jr. Show will be November 27 and that October 18th will be the last opportunity to see tthe spectacular production of Joseph at the Sight and Sound Theatre. Starting on November 2nd the Sight and Sound will be featuring another amazing production the Miracle of Christmas until December 28th. Joseph will be replaced by another spectacular biblical epic Jonah starting with the 2014 season.

For additional information on any of the shows mentioned in this article or for information or tickets for 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, and talk with one of their local Branson based Travel Planners by calling 1-800-785-1550.

“it” short name huge Branson entertainment experience

The Hughes Brothers Marty, left, Adam, Andy, Ryan and Jason.

BRANSON, Mo., September 6, 2013 – In terms of sport gear and footwear Nike advises “Just Do It” and in terms of fast food McDonalds says “I’m lovin it ,” but based on what this writer saw this week he would suggest that in terms of Branson shows it could be said “it is huge entertainment for the whole family.” Some may ask, “Shouldn’t the word ‘it’ be changed to ‘they’ to reflect that Branson shows are huge entertainment for the whole family?”

The answer would be “Yes” as applied to all Branson shows, but “No” as used in this context because we are talking about just one of Branson’s shows, it! Its billing as a “little word BIG show” relates to more than size and goes to the very essence of the show in terms of the total outstanding entertainment experience this show provides.

From beginning to end this production show is a fast paced cornucopia of music, comedy, dancing and color staring a cast of over 50 vocalists, dancers and musicians and featuring the Hughes Brothers and their incredibly talented families. Taken in total, the Hughes family is considered the largest family performing together in a live stage production, but that’s just the beginning.

Part of the colorful beginning to the shows patriotic segment.

From the opening to the final curtain, whether it is a segment with the Hughes Brothers themselves, their extremely talented wives, small kids or teens each segment is quality entertainment presented in an extremely professional, personable and entertaining manner. Although the Hughes Brothers themselves are featured, let there be no doubt about the fact that the “family” is the star of it and what makes it one of very few Branson shows with the ability to simultaneously entertain children and adults at the same time. What a joy it was to watch the kids in the audience react as they watched their “peers” perform on stage at the same time the adults they were with were clapping and appeared to be enjoying themselves too.

I would typically try to list all the cast members of the show, but for this one, based on the total number of cast members and the emphasis of the show on the participation of the whole family I will not do it this time. The musical breadth of this show is amazing and covers everything from country, to classical, gospel, rock pop and more. Factor in the vocal and instrumental talents of the Hughes Brothers and their families in presenting that music, colorful costuming, their energy, the ability of the entire cast to relate to the audience, a great live band and the result is a show filled with great music, fun, energy and excitement from beginning to end for everyone.

The Hughes children presenting an absolutely beautiful and inspirational performance of "I Am A Child of God.."

This is one fast paced show that transitions from one exciting, colorful and entertaining segment to another. Realizing the subjectivity involved I typically mention three segments or moments in a show that were my favorites. Among many for this show it would be “The Hughes Brothers” dynamite opening segment displaying their great talent and vocal range on music from rock and pop to classical; the Hughes kids as they beautifully sang an inspiring rendition of “I Am A Child of God” and the violin/fiddle medley presented by the Hughes’ children of a variety of music from “Simple Gifts,” played by Kristina Hughes to the “Barber of Seville Theme” with about six other numbers in between. It was a joy to see and hear.

The shows fantastic energetic opening established the tenor for the whole show and starts with the number “Can You Feel It.” That’s one of the beauties of this show, from beginning to end you will feel it; that feeling of being thoroughly entertained as the Hughes family shares their talent and family with yours drawing you into a very special and unique entertainment experience. This a unique Branson “gem” that truly entertains adults and children simultaneously at virtually the same high level throughout the whole show and should be considered for everyone’s “Branson Show’s Bucket List.”

For additional information or tickets on it or for information or tickets for 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 calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website.

 

 

Material Connection

 

Great way to start a fun filled Branson Experience

A dinner cruise aboard Main Street Lake Cruises' 100 foot luxury yacht, the "Landing Princess," on beautiful Lake Taneycomo was just one of the many activities Neal enjoyed while in Branson.

BRANSON, Mo., September 4, 2013 – “The [Branson] Tourism Center is the perfect place for one stop shopping for all attractions and shows. We got great customer service with attention to details for our likes and needs. Pricing was very affordable and our welcome was warm and genuine. Their web site is laid out for easy browsing and I strongly suggest advance booking because when you arrive at the center to pick up your package, everything is in order and ready so you can get started on your exciting and fun filled experience right away!!!,” said Annette Neal from Desoto, Texas about her recent trip to Branson which was arranged through the services of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC). Neal made the unsolicited comment on Branson Tourism Center’s Facebook Page.

“We so appreciate that Annette took the time to comment and was so pleased with our service,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “She summarized our primary purpose for being in business, ‘Helping people have a great Branson experience,’” she continued.

That “experience” starts well before anyone sets foot in Branson. For many, it starts while they are sitting in their living room thinking about whether or not they should pick Branson as their vacation destination, wondering about what Branson has to offer, where to stay and what to see and do. In many vacation destinations a person is left on their own to ferret out the information on their own through the internet or other sources and there is no convenient immediate resource available to answer questions or assist in making sure that the lodging, shows, attractions and other activities they select meet their specific “likes and needs.”

That is not the case in Branson! In addition to its website, WWW.BransonTourismCenter.Com, the Branson Tourism Center provides free personal “concierge” type planning services with one of its Branson based “Vacation Planning Specialists” through a toll free phone call to 1-800-785-1550. They are available seven days a week, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM – 9:30 PM (CST) and provide a one stop resource not only for information on Branson, but the purchase of show and attraction tickets and lodging if desired.

“Our success as a business directly hinges on the experience that our customers have with us,” Johnson said. “We could go on about the fact that BTC is in its 11th year of business, has sold over 3 million Branson show and attraction tickets and has an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accreditation, but what is really important is the relationships that we build with customers like Annette and the privilege of helping them have a great experience in one of the most unique and fun filled vacation destinations anywhere, Branson, Missouri.”

 

Hooray For Hollywood a spectacular musical celebration of Hollywood’s greatest music

The cute uniqueness of its opening number with "usherette" Tiffany Sassanell auditioning for a part in the show.

BRANSON, Mo., September 1, 2013 — What do you get when you have some of the greatest music from Hollywood films being performed live on stage by four extraordinary vocalists, a superb cast of dancers in a spectacular, colorful, entertaining and beautifully choreographed production? In this writer’s opinion it would be two hours of the most entertaining vocal and dancing performances on any Branson stage while watching the extremely entertaining production show Hooray For Hollywood.

From the 1952 musical comedy Singing in the Rain to the 2012 epic musical drama Les Miserables, Hooray For Hollywood  is a non-stop extravaganza of some of the greatest musical moments from the last 50 years of Hollywood film making presented live on stage. That’s “what” is being done, but it’s “how” it is done that makes this show such a wonderful entertainment experience.

When one considers that the performers in this show are performing some of the greatest musical moments in film making history the performance of the show’s singers and dancers is of critical importance. The vocal and dancing skills of this cast, in number after number, displays a level of talent that is absolutely amazing. The vocals are performed by Tony Turner, Cory Seay, Tiffany Sassanella, and Heather Petersen. The shows dancers are Becca Jennings, Amy Morlang, Shelley Tees, Kelly Weigand, Ruth Robertson, Tom Gray, Martin Bennett, Aaron LeMoine, Ollie Barrow, Clark Roberts and Charles Redding.

The way that the costuming, special effects and film clips are seamlessly integrated into each number with the vocals and dancing results in a different “mini production” for each different film and helps make this show the great entertainment experience it is. In the case of the film Titanic, it was a simple elegant “production” consisting of Tiffany Sassanella’s beautiful rendition of My Heart Will Go On,” accented by a beautiful gown, lighting effects and a video clip from the movie that created a unique and touching performance.

On the other hand, the “production” of “Less Miserables” involved three vocal solos, each with its own “mini set,” and the entire cast in its “finale.” The vocals, I Dreamed A Dream, by Tiffany Sassanella; On My Own, by Heather Petersen and Stars by Cory Seay, combined with the full cast performance of Do You Hear the People Sing, in this writer’s opinion, is one of the most powerful, moving and inspirational performances he has seen performed in a Branson show.

The "high flying" Heather Petersen performing "Feed The Birds" from Mary Poppins

And that’s just two of the many performances that follow, seamlessly one after the other. From many and realizing his opinion is subjective, this writers favorite three would be the “Usherette” opening to the show because it illustrates, very dramatically, the talent in this show the unique entertaining manner that will showcase that talent. Heather Peterson’s “hi flying” performance of Feed The Birds from Mary Poppins was as was another example of great vocal talent combined with “high flying special effects” and of course, as mentioned above, Less Miserables.

“It’s a tough act to follow,” comes into play when a show is presenting, live on stage, some of the most spectacular, memorable and beloved musical moments from over 50 years of Hollywood films. Hooray For Hollywood not only meets that challenge, but with its talented performers and great production makes those moments “its own.”

For additional information on Hooray For Hollywood please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Material Connection

Unique honors sparkle for three Branson Stars

Buck Trent and his marker on the Spartanburg Music Trail.

BRANSON, Mo., August 28, 2013 – “Recently, three Branson entertainers, Buck Trent, Mickey Gilley and Dean Z were each honored in separate and unique events,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Although each recognition was unique, the common thread between them was honoring and acknowledging the talent, accomplishments, and professionalism of each” she continued.

“Oh Yeah”, thumbs up and “Uh Huh!” as Spartanburg, SC, honored its native son, internationally acclaimed banjo picker and entertainer Buck Trent, for a distinguished entertainment career that has spanned over half a century. The city declared August 26th as “Buck Trent Day” and unveiled the “Buck Trent Marker” on the “Spartanburg Music Trail.”

Although, throughout his career Trent has received numerous honors and awards including twice being named the “Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year” he said that being honored by his hometown was really something special. Visitors to Branson can experience this amazing entertainer in the Buck Trent Show throughout the season.

The legendary Mickey Gilley will be inducted into the National Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame on August 31st in Le Mars, Iowa as part of its 38th Annual National Old-Time Country & Bluegrass Festival. Gilley who has earned numerous awards including the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year said that he was “surprised and honored to be nominated for this prestigious award.”

Although many thought his career was over after receiving a paralyzing injury in 2009 Gilley is currently performing his Mickey Gilley show at his Branson theatre, Sunday through Wednesday. In addition he will be the guest host for Branson Tourism Center’s next exclusive Cruise With The Stars event at 11:45 AM on September 19 providing his fans with an unparalleled up close and personal experience with Gilley including opportunities for photos and autographs.

Dean Z, who has been performing as the Elvis Tribute Artist in the Branson edition of the Legends in Concert Show since 2007, won the national “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest,” in front of a full house at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis, TN on August 27. Sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. the Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ involved hundreds of Elvis tribute artists competing in 28 preliminary Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ events all over the United States for cash and an invitation to the Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ Semi-Finals in Memphis during Elvis Week. “At Legends in Concert we take great pride that our tribute artists are the best of the best,” said Jeannie Horton, General Manager, of the Branson Legends in Concert Theatre. “We have always known that Dean Z was one of the best Elvis Tribute Artists out there and we are just thrilled that now the whole world knows,” she continued.

 

 

5th Annual CAM Branson Gospel Sing Off

Guest performer Jimmy Fortune

BRANSON, Mo., August 20, 2013 — The spectacular Sight & Sound Theatre, the home of the spectacular production of Joseph and the Miracle of Christmas will host the 5th Annual Christian Action Ministries (CAM) “Gospel Sing Off” on Sunday September 1st starting at 2 PM.  Jack Burke, CAM Board Chairman said that the ten finalists were chosen from over 80 entrants and will be competing for over $3,000 in cash, trophies and the opportunity to sing at Silver Dollar City during the last day of its “Southern Gospel Music Picnic,” September 2.

The finalists will be judged by a panel of six local celebrity judges. They are Avery Cole, from “The Voices of Glory,” and AYO Show; Ben Dutton, singer, dancer, and versatile musician with The Duttons; George Dyer, Branson’s premier tenor from The George Dyer Show; Jak Knudsen of the popular Branson entertainment group SIX; Joe Sullivan, who has been producing Branson shows and bringing national talent to Branson stages for over 20 years and Ronnie Page, entertainment editor for the Branson Daily Independent and singing with The Statler Brothers Revisited.

The ten finalist acts performing in the Gospel Sing Off are:

The Farnums, a family of eight from Galena, Missouri.  Mom and Dad, plus their six children ranging in age from 7 to 20, focus on preserving historical and traditional gospel music.

DC-3 Trio (Daughters of Christ) is based in the greater Chicago area and has been singing together at church and community events for 17 years.

Mark Dean is an award-winning gospel singer and Branson resident who has dedicated his talents to praising the Lord after a near-death heart incident seven years ago.

Joy2 is an a cappella quartet from Harrison, Arkansas.  The four members were all involved in choral music prior to coming together in 2011 as a group.

Joanne Hall, a Forsyth resident who was born in Thibodaux, Louisianna, started singing at age 5, but has spent the last 25 years raising her family.  She was originally known as the little girl with the big voice.

Changed is a family group from Lebanon, Missouri who have expanded their singing together around the piano to become more organized as a gospel-singing group.

The Haining Family of Branson began performing Christian family-building music in 2004 with a unique blend of vocal harmonies, instrumental skills, and yodeling.

Jericho, based in the DeSoto area of Missouri, is a quartet of working men who fill their spare time by musically sharing their love of the Lord with others.

Ashley Jischke is a talented, young woman from Kimberling City who loves to sing, play the piano and guitar, and write her own songs and music.

The Gospel Cousins are two sisters and their cousin who have been active in the music ministry, Sunday school, and choir at their Quinton, Oklahoma church for the past three decades.”

For the 5th consecutive year, Bob Hubbard of the “Foggy River Boys” and “The Jordanaires,” will emcee the Sing Off. Guest appearances will also be made by Jimmy Fortune of The Statler Brothers, “Voices of Glory,” who finished in the Top Five of the NBC prime time hit show “Americas Got Talent,” and are staring in their Branson Show Ayo; last year’s winners The Fair Family, and saxophonist Gary Dooms.  Ventriloquist Kerry Miller and his gospel-singing puppets will be providing pre-show entertainment in the Sight & Sound lobby.

The Gospel Sing-Off is the “only operational fundraiser” for Christian Action Ministries (CAM), who “operates food pantries in Branson and Forsyth, as well as a monthly mobile outreach to eastern Taney County. Reserved seat tickets are a $12 donation for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. For further information or tickets please feel free to contact either the Sight and Sound Theatre or the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550.

 

Cruising into spectacular Branson Fall foliage

View of the first "blush" of Fall foliage from the bow of the "Landing Princess."

BRANSON, Mo., August 25, 2013 – “The rains experienced during July and August have set Branson up to have a great fall foliage season,” said Loralei McCoy, Director of Operations for Main Street Lake Cruises. “It’s a spectacular show put on by Mother Nature and one of the best seats ‘in the house’ to experience it is on Lake Taneycomo while cruising aboard one of Main Street Lake Cruises’ boats,” she added.

Lake Taneycomo, is a long narrow impoundment of the White River, with its shorelines being much closer together than other lakes such as Table Rock and Bull Shoals Lakes providing a unique opportunity to truly experience the brilliance, color and vividness of the Ozark’s fall foliage. A typical cruise aboard one of Main Street Lake Cruises’ boats is a spectacular experience any time of the year offering an up close chance to view Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, other birds, deer, other wildlife, panoramic vistas and bluffs not available through any other means except by boat on Lake Taneycomo. They are seen by very few the millions who visit Branson each year.

As the foliage changes color, these panoramic vistas turn into magnificent “masterpieces” that have to be seen to be believed. Operating the only cruises on Lake Taneycomo, whether on a sightseeing cruise aboard the Lake Queen, a modern day replica of the grand riverboats which used to ply the White River or a dinner cruise aboard the 100 foot luxury yacht Landing Princess, the boats of Main Street Lake Cruises provide an unparalleled view of not only the magnificent beauty of the changing Ozark’s foliage, but of Lake Taneycomo and its natural scenic wonders.

Main Street Lake Cruises’ McCoy points out that, depending on the weather, the first blush of color is toward the end of September with its peak at about the third week of October. Because of the popularity of these cruises she suggests making advance reservations. For additional information on Branson’s fall foliage season or Main Street Lake Cruises please call 1-877-382-6287.

There’s a reason they are called the Incredible Acrobats of China

Scene from the shows colorful and exciting Opening.

BRANSON, Mo., August 20, 2013 – For those who might not want to read a detailed story about a really great show, let’s summarize it in one sentence. Having seen the Incredible Acrobats of China Show featuring the New Shanghai Circus, yesterday, this writer can again say, without a doubt, it is a one of a kind cornucopia of color, excitement, grace, action, and danger that entertains all ages, from its exciting and colorful opening until the curtain falls.

In a town with over 100 shows on any given day, this show stands alone in terms of its uniqueness and ability to simultaneously entertain both children and adults throughout its entire length with a caliber of entertainment that is truly incredible. A family from Flower Mound Texas* consisting of mom and dad and their two lovely daughters aged four and six are an excellent example.

At intermission, when asked how they were enjoying the show the adults answer was, “We are enjoying the show a lot.” Their four and six year old daughters both said that they liked it and when asked if they had a favorite act they both, in their own way, said that they liked the whole show and would not pick a favorite act. Their six year old daughter said that she thought that other kids her age would enjoy the show as much as she did. The telling of the story doesn’t do it justice because you can’t see the excitement in the eyes of the girls or sense the happiness of the parents that their daughters were enjoying themselves so much.

The show’s exciting Opening features most of the cast members, is a harbinger of what is to come and raises the bar in terms of audience expectation. The 14 acts that follow do not disappoint with each unique act having its own choreography, music and colorful costuming, but more importantly, being performed by people with a skill level that simply has to be experienced to be believed.

The most thrilling Chair Stacking act most people will ever see.

In addition to acts that it is almost certain most people have never seen before, the show includes acts such hoop diving, juggling, contortion, human strength, chair sticking and Silks that you might have seen before, but it is almost certain that you have never seen them performed like they are in this show. As I sat there watching the show, as I have at least once a year for most of the last decade, I knew I was seeing some of the types of acts that I had seen before, but it was presented in a different and fresh manner making it a new entertainment experience. One thing for sure, the shows juggling act will add new meaning to the term “Hat Trick.”

Chair Stacking acts are not unusual, but how about one where the performer is up about 30 feet in the stack, does a one hand stand on top of some “beer” cans then drops down to the stool they are sitting on. It’s absolutely amazing, but then so was the five ladies performing in synchronization on an eight chair stack during the second half of the show! The Roller Skating act performed at high speed by two ladies within a six foot diameter raised circle was as breathtaking as it was exciting. At one point one of the performers was suspended by her neck as she was twirled around at high speeds. The audience just loved the Hoop Diving as the performers, running at full speed launch themselves into the air and through hoops at varying heights, while performing acrobatics and other feats before falling back to the ground.

It’s hard to imagine anything more beautiful and graceful than the show’s Contortion, high flying Silk and Human Ballet acts. The Silk act is one of the best this writer has ever witnessed and “The Human Ballet,” where a Ballet Dancer gracefully performs a ballet on the head and shoulders of her partner, “is one of the most unique, incredible and beautiful things I have ever seen performed on a stage.”

And these are just a few of the amazing acts presented in the Incredible Acrobats of China Show featuring the New Shanghai Circus. If you want to see a unique, exciting and colorful one of a kind entertainment experience performed by athletic, skilled, energetic and graceful performers to perfection that simultaneously entertains adults and children then you don’t want to miss this show.

For additional information or tickets for the Incredible Acrobats of China Show featuring the New Shanghai Circus please contact the Branson Tourism Center by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com

 

* Name omitted to protect the privacy of the children.

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