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November 24, 2005

A Special Christmas Blessing for Branson

Branson Courier (MO):

At the outset an Ole Seagull must admit that he can’t read a note of music and doesn’t know a “beet” from a “beat,” but even he knew that he was listening to something special as he listened to the Gatlin Brothers and Lennon Sisters present their Christmas Show at the Welk Theatre in Branson, Missouri on the afternoon of Nov. 19. On their own, each group has that unique special blend of natural singing ability and harmony that God blesses very few families with. But when the two groups combine to present the Christmas portion of the show that blessing is multiplied exponentially, creating a synergy and spirit that fills ones heart with the true meaning of Christmas even as they realize that they are participating in a very special entertainment experience.

The first half of the show features the Gatlin Brothers, Larry, Steve, and Rudy “on doing all the hits they are famous for, “Houston,” “She’s a Broken Lady,” “All the Gold in California” as only they can do them with Larry and Steve providing just the right amount of comedic and audience interaction. How does “Boogers and Snot” fit into the great scheme of life, well wonder no more because Larry and, through video, his granddaughter, Parker, will make it all clear.

Ever since a 15 year old boy came in from hunting and walked through the door of his uncles house in 1956 and saw the Lennon Sisters for the first time and realized that there was more to life than hunting and fishing he has been a Lennon Sisters fan. That is mentioned simply because, as they sang their portion of the first half, that boy, who is now 64 years old and back to fishing, took a few pictures and simply, for the most part, sat there mesmerized by the beautiful elegance of their music and harmony rather than writing down what it was they were singing. One highlight, from a performance filled with “highlights,” would be their beautiful rendition of “Somewhere” from the musical “Westside Story.”

The Christmas portion covers the entire second half of the show and, let there be no doubt about it, although “Happy Holidays” might be the theme at Walmart, in this show there is no doubt that the holiday being celebrated is Christmas. From the opening number to the grand finale, it is one traditional Christmas favorite after another with a couple of surprises thrown in. The Gatlin’s rendition of the “The 12 Days of Christmas” is a real crowd pleaser and adds the Gatlin’s own special meaning to the phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

The main highlight was when the Lennon Sisters and the Gatlins sang a medley of Christmas carols accompanied only by Steve Smith and Mike Cathcart on the guitar. The blending of their voices and harmonies with the beautiful guitar playing of Steve and Mike results in a simple elegant expression of the Christmas spirit. Or was it the Lennon Sisters rendition “Ave Maria,” or the number where two of Janet’s “angel” grand daughters, Lia, 6, and Ana 4, stood watch over the baby Jesus as their grandmother and her sisters sang His praises. Maybe it was the combined voices and the power and conviction of the grand finale.

Whatever the highlight might be, the Gatlin Brothers and Lennon Sisters Christmas Show is not only a poignant musical definition of the true meaning of Christmas it is a unique one of a kind opportunity to experience the synergy of two of America’s favorite singing groups as they join their voices and harmonies together in a beautiful, powerful, and moving musical experience that is without parallel. These folks need to make an album of inspirational songs together!

Thru December 10.

Posted by acapnews at November 24, 2005 12:05 AM