First Christmas Show well attended

Thursday, December 17, 2009
Santa attends Cassville's first Christmas Show Democrat Photo Santa Claus made surprise visits at the Cassville Area Chamber Commerce-sponsored Christmas Show on Dec. 11 and 12. After asking youngsters attending the performances what they wanted for Christmas, Santa took to the stage to entertain the crowd with Hometown Sound and the Red Hots. Santa is pictured above with Leslie Smith.

The Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's first annual Christmas Show attracted over 600 local community members. Over 350 individuals attended the performance on Friday night, and another 200 attendees enjoyed Saturday night's production.

"On behalf of myself, the board and the performers, we were very pleased with the first Christmas Show," said Mindi Artherton, Cassville Chamber of Commerce executive director. "We anticipate that the show will only grow and get bigger each year in the future."

Artherton and Greg Beck, Christmas Show director, both heard many positive comments regarding the holiday show, which was held in the Crowder College Cassville Campus auditorium.

"We were nervous, because this was the first time we had used that facility," said Beck. "It sounded really different to us, but as we rehearsed in there, we became more used to it. Then it changed again when all the people came in for the performance.

"We had several people say that they were able to hear the singers and performers a lot better in this location," said Beck. "That can only be credited to the building. It offered great acoustics."

Attendees also enjoyed watching the Christmas Show performance on a stage that was raised above the audience.

"We received lots of comments on the set up," said Beck. "The lighting even seemed better in the auditorium."

Audience members filled a large portion of the Crowder College auditorium. Beck said that nearly every chair was used on Friday night and 90 to 95 percent of the available seating was used on Saturday.

"We were tickled to death to see that many people come out the first time we offered this show," said Beck. "With the outstanding response, we are definitely planning to offer the Christmas Show again next year."

Beck said he is currently making plans for next year's holiday performances, which will be held on Friday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 11.

"We plan to hold this show on just two days, because there are so many other things going on during this time of year," said Beck. "We are competing with Christmas parties and other holiday events. We believe that might be why we had so many more people attend the Friday night show."

The first Christmas Show included a variety of traditional and contemporary holiday songs and several comedic performances. Blake Whitley performed "Blue Christmas" as Porky the Pig, and Josh Davison, John Lueckenhoff and Rodney Hughes performed a musical number by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

"Everyone really enjoyed the Chipmunks," said Beck. "We had a lot more kids at the Christmas Show that we usually have at The Show in the fall. The kids really enjoyed getting to see Santa."

Santa Claus invited all of the children in attendance to come up and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. After visiting with area children, Santa took to the stage to introduce some of the final performances of the holiday show.

"I really enjoyed the music," said Artherton. "I love Christmas music, and it was really fun to see the songs I love performed live by people I know. I also enjoyed getting to see Hometown Sound and the Redhots one more time this year. It was a great show."

The Cassville United Methodist Church Bell Choir provided pre-show entertainment for the Christmas Show. The bell choir is directed by Judie Starchman.

"I was extremely impressed and pleased with the bell choir," said Beck. "They worked really hard and came in well rehearsed. They did a great job."

The Christmas Show offered solo performances by the following local community members: Angela Seymour, Davison, JaDonna Hoover, John Lueckenhoff, Carrie Beck, Jeremy Hilburn, Jennifer Evans, Whitley, Tracy Essery, Kaye Hughes, Katie Johnson and Rodney Hughes.

Music for the show was provided by Hometown Sound and the Redhots. Band members include: Carol House, piano; Jo Ellen Fielding, keyboard and flute; Charley Fuller, guitar; Jack Reed, guitar; Bruce Nickle, bass; Jim Craig, trombone; Rocky Mills, trumpet; Chris Jones, saxophone; Brenda Beck, percussion; and Greg Beck, drums.

The Redhots are Carrie Beck, Essery, Evans and Hoover. Ken Latscher, Wendy Lueckenhoff, Carolyn Bowen and Don Bowen assisted with sound engineering, wardrobe, backstage duties and stage set-up.

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