Shoji returns to the Branson stage with his incredible Christmas show

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When Shoji plays “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” he’s not kidding!

It’s Ozark Mountain Christmas in Branson, Missouri. With its millions of bright Christmas lights, world class shopping, wonderful live shows, and everything else Branson is known for, its one of America’s most noted Christmas celebrations. Even amid the glow of millions of Christmas lights, the brightness of Branson’s live shows sparkle with the joy, excitement, and wonder of Christmas as they entertain you and your loved ones filling your hearts with that special Branson Christmas spirit.

One of Branson’s most iconic Christmas shows, the Shoji Tabuchi Christmas show, returns to the Branson stage for a limited engagement at the Clay Cooper Theatre on selected dates, through December 21.The show, Celebrate 25 Days of Christmas With the Tabuchis, marks the return to the stage of the incredible Shoji Tabuchi after a year and a half absence because of fire that damage to his theatre in the spring of 2017.

I saw the show on October 29 and just loved it. From a prospective conflict of interest point of view, I would point out that I am a long time Shoji Tabuchi fan and am proud to call him my friend. In my review of the show I said, “From Santa Claus arriving in the very first number to the closing, with the ‘reason for the season, this show is all about Christmas. Oh there’s a few special Christmas gifts strategically placed throughout, audience favorites, such as Through the Eyes of Love, Pure Imagination, and the Orange Blossom Special, but from beginning to the end, this show is a delightful celebration of the joys, spirit, and wonders of Christmas.

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Featured vocalist, Christina Lingo-Tabuchi

“In addition to the incredible Shoji Tabuchi, the show features the talented Christina Lingo-Tabuchi as the featured female vocalist. She is also the co-dance captain and co-producer of the show. The show’s versatile entertainers, dance, sing, and, unless my guess is wrong, ‘magically’ appear as reindeer and penguins. They are Kami Ballard, Norvin Breeck (Co-Dance Captain), Jeremy Sterling, and Sharlyn Todd.

“The live band adds another enjoyable dimension to the show. It consists of Dougie Duggan, Guitar (Band Director), Carl Hose, Trombone, Dan McMasters, Bass, Collin Rozario, Keyboard, and Anthony Walter, Drums. They play in just about every number and featured in many.”

The very first number Here Comes Santa Claus, featuring Shoji Tabuchi, sets the Christmas tenor of the show. “What better time to have Santa Claus himself arrive and, to the delight of the audience, especially the kids, come down into the audience and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas.’

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Rudolph and his Hawaiian friends.

“Speaking of kids, they should love this show! There’s the music of Christmas, which most will relate to, and colorful unique costuming throughout. Starting with the arrival of Santa Claus there are strategically placed numbers and things that will excite and entertain them, such as the march of the drumming toy soldiers, dancing penguins, the Hawaiian reindeer in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and an opportunity for them to come up on stage, interact with Christina Tabuchi.

“The set list for this show covers the full range of Christmas music that celebrates both the fun and excitement of Christmas as well as the “reason for the season.” The fun music of Christmas includes music such as Here Comes Santa Claus, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, Jingle Bells, Reindeer Boogie and others. The inspirational music of Christmas includes, among others, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and Oh Holy Night.”

There is a mixture of both kinds of music throughout the show, but it’s interesting to note that both the first and second half of the show end with versions of Joy to the World. “The first half with Shoji and the band playing a unique instrumental arrangement incorporating three variations of music, Latin, Pop, and Rock and the second with the whole cast singing it along with the audience. What an inspirational way to end both halves of the show with the ‘real reason’ for the season.

“Fully recognizing that your favorites might be different than mine, and from among many, I typically pick two numbers from each show that are my favorites. Shoji and the bands instrumental version of Joy to the World, with its different beats and Christina’s rendition of “Oh Holy Night” were as inspiring as they were entertaining. OK, I’ve got to mention two more. The mandolin and violin duet with Shoji and Sharlyn Todd of Christmas Time’s A Comin’ provided a fun change of pace and a bit of bluegrass that I particularly enjoyed. Shoji’s favorite song is Through the Eyes of Love, from the movie ‘Ice Castles.’ I have had the privilege of hearing him play it for over 30 years, it’s my favorite Shoji number, and it always touches my heart. This time was no exception.”

This show will hold the interest of both adults and kids throughout and is a delightful Christmas experience that families can share together. For more information or tickets for Celebrate 25 Days of Christmas With the Tabuchis please call 417-332-CLAY (2529) or (417) 334-7469.

Jim Stafford celebrates 28 years of entertaining Branson audiences

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Jim Stafford’s celebrating his 28th year in Branson.

Jim Stafford has been entertaining audiences since the 1970’s and has been called the “consummate entertainer.” Jim keeps his audiences laughing with his unique comedy banter and skits. Musically, he sings , writes songs, and plays a variety of musical instruments including the fiddle, banjo, piano, and plays the guitar so well that he is considered a “guitar virtuoso.”

Jim Stafford show celebrating 28 years in Branson

A series of catchy hits such as his most popular hit,” Spiders & Snakes,” rising to “No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 10,” “Swamp Witch,” “My Girl Bill,” and “Wildwood Weed,” launched his career nationally. Celebrating his 28th year in Branson this year, he came to Branson and started the Jim Stafford show in 1990; 2018’s show is a celebration of those 28 years. With almost three decades of material to draw from, as well as his unique combination of talents, this is a celebration that should not be missed.

Some of the old with new vocals, new stories and new instrumentals

Stafford says, “I’ve got new vocals, new stories and new instrumentals I’m working on. There’s one new instrumental piece I’ve been working on for the past 16 months, and the reason why is because it’s hard.” He also indicates that as he has added new elements to his show through the years that some really “good bits fall by the wayside.” Stafford says that in addition to the new material, he’s decided to bring back some of his favorites from the past that he hasn’t done in many years.

What do people who have seen the show think?

One person who saw the Jim Stafford show recently said he was a “comedic genius” and suggests that his style and timing is reminiscent of the likes of Tim Conway, Phyllis Diller, Rodney Dangerfield and Elmer Fudd. They concluded saying, “Jim Stafford is the real deal. An extraordinary entertainer.” Another said, “Jim’s blend of music and humor will keep you giggling and entertained throughout the show…So glad we went!”

Aquarium to join Branson Strip Attractions?

Branson Missouri Aquarium Interior: Submarine Voyage

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Concept drawing of the interior of the Aquarium on the Boardwalk.*

 

If the plans announced Thursday, August 23 come to fruition, a unique aquarium will be added to the List of Branson Attractions for visitors to enjoy. The proposed plans calls for a 46,000 square foot facility to be called “Aquarium at the Boardwalk” (Aquarium). It will be built by Kuvera Partners, the owners of “Grand Palace” and the Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center in Branson, by a related entity, “Branson Entertainment Center – Branson, LLC (BECB).

Unique Aquarium will impact Branson Strip redevelopment

The Aquarium is planned for the northwest corner of the Grand Palace property near the middle of the famous Branson Strip. “Redeveloping the Grand Palace site with an Aquarium is – without a doubt – the most impactful way to reactivate this key section of the Highway 76 [Branson] Strip,” said Kuvera Partner Tej Sundher. “Aquarium at the Boardwalk” will be focused on fish and fun. Right at the start, we’re creating the atmosphere of a classic boardwalk and then taking you under the sea to explore and play and get great photos, along with enjoying spectacular views of a wide variety of sea animals,” he added.

 

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Concept drawing of Mermaid Palace.*

“Mermaid Palace”  just part of Aquarium’s Fun and Play

It’s website describes some of the things that are planned to make it unique and fun for its visitors. Among them is the “Mermaid Palace.. a magical underwater Palace where heroic Mermaids safeguard the sea…Their lovely fortress has been designed for you to enjoy tales of the deep with a real live mermaid. Plus, take in the mesmerizing sight of schooling fish, seahorses, and butterfly fish.” Another is the “Jelly Fish Climber and Aquarium Slide” where youngsters get to scale a replica of the ocean’s giant jellyfish – a “Sea Nettle” on “their self-directed adventures inside a 14-foot, net-enclosed climber and “whoosh down the slide through a swarm of spiny Lionfish!” Some of the other planned activities include the “Journey Through The Waters Tunnel,” “Amazing Rays,” a “Touch Pool,” “Coral Reef” and more.

It’s is not a done deal!

Although Kuvera’s BECB has been working with the city of Branson and others on the plans and financing for the Aquarium for some time, no final commitment to proceed has been made by either BECB or the City. In early July of this year, the city entered into a Preliminary Funding Agreement with Branson Entertainment Center – Branson, LLC for the redevelopment of the Grand Palace property.

BECB purchased the 13.258 acre parcel in the fall of 2014 for a reported $2.7 million from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Since then they have “been studying the best use for the highly-visible property at the center of the Branson Strip.”  Tej Sundher said, “We are thrilled to finally be able to reveal our vision of bringing Aquarium at the Boardwalk to the Branson community…Three years ago, even I would not have guessed that this is the direction we would go, but an aquarium tested best by far in consumer research, and we are really excited about what we’re proposing to offer.”

No TIF no Aquarium?

In announcing their plans, Kuvera said that special legal counsel and financial advisors to the City of Branson are conducting a review of the project to see if it “qualifies for tax increment financing [TIF] needed for Kuvera to green light the Aquarium.” It went on to say that if the city approves the TIF that “Kuvera has the rest of the financing in place to begin construction immediately and open in March of 2020.”

Branson CVB says Aquarium is top choice to attract new visitors

The Branson Chamber of Commerce & CVB’s CEO Jeff Seifried said, “Our research tells us that an aquarium is the top choice to attract new visitors. We believe that Kuvera’s team of experts and experience in this community will make this a successful project that is good for Branson. It is gratifying to see that this longstanding Branson business believes in the future of Branson and wants to continue investing in a big way.”

*Photos courtesy  Kuvera Parters and  BECB

College of the Ozarks “Just Does it”- chooses Country, drops Nike

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College of the Ozarks plans to remove all athletic uniforms purchased from Nike or that contain the Nike emblem. Student athletes will no longer wear the brand in response to the company’s new ad campaign.

College of the Ozarks “Just Does it!”

Nike released their ad campaign this week on the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” slogan. College of the Ozarks has stated its views regarding patriotism, the American flag, and the national anthem. In October 2017, the College revised its contracts for competition in all sports, adding a stipulation that all participating players and coaches show respect for the American flag and national anthem. The College also requested that the NAIA move the 2018 Men’s Division II Basketball Tournament to another venue, which they did. The tournament is no longer played at College of the Ozarks.

“In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America,” said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis. “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them. We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform.”

College is honor-bound to respect our country

Dr. Marci Linson, vice president for patriotic activities and dean of admissions, oversees patriotic activities at the College and safeguards the College’s patriotic goal: to encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it. “Nike is free to campaign as it sees fit, as the College is free, and honor-bound by its mission and goals, to ensure that it respects our country and those who truly served and sacrificed,” Linson said.

For additional information, contact Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman at (417) 690-2212.

About the College 
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Best Value Regional College in the Midwest and No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2018. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.

Branson’s Canada Geese and waterfowl ask, “Please don’t feed us!”

Please don't feed the geese - Lake Taneycomo in Branson MO

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Educational signs thanking people for not feeding the Canada Geese and other waterfowl.

Branson’s lakes are home to all sorts of waterfowl

Its natural beauty, surrounding Ozark Mountains, and Lakes, along with its live shows and attractions, have been drawing millions of visitors to Branson, Missouri for decades. That natural beauty and its it’s working. Not only is there a substantial reduction in the number of geese in the area, but in the amount of their feces that he had to clean off his parking lot each day to keep his customers from walking through it and tracking it into his business. It goes without saying that those same benefits accrue to those who use the road for recreation and the campers in the Campground.. The beautiful Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo, provide excellent fishing for bass and trout; an aquatic wonderland for boating, swimming and water sports; and an excellent habitat for water fowl. So, metamorphically speaking, why would Branson’s waterfowl ask, “”Please don’t feed us!”

Lakes are convenient for migratory water fowl

The Branson area lakes provide a convenient resting and feeding place for migratory water fowl as they follow their natural migration and seasonal patterns. It also provides an excellent home for those migratory water fowl, such as the “Canada Goose,” who decide to stay in the area for prolonged periods of time rather than “travel on.”

Problems with feeding Canada Geese and waterfowl

Isolated individuals and pairs are not a problem, but large numbers of them, congregating in one area near people can cause problems for both the geese and people. That problem multiplies exponentially when they congregate in an area to be fed food they do not normally eat and that area is extremely close to a campground filled with families, such as the city of Branson’s Lakeside RV Park (Campground), located on the shores of Lake Taneycomo just south of Branson Landing.

Waterfowl problems from eating “people food”

The shore line directly in front of the Campground has become the area where people gather to feed the geese and ducks. This attracts large numbers of Canada Geese and other water fowl. The City of Branson and the Missouri Department of Conservation are working together to inform the public, through signage, that the “people food” they are feeding the geese and other water fowl, typically processed bread, French fries, popcorn, etc., while ok for humans, is not in their natural diet. It doesn’t contain the right nutrition, makes them more susceptible to disease, ill, and more aggressive toward people.

Impact lakeshore recreation

The large number of geese being fed and the impact of that on their digestive system has resulted in their feces being spread from the shoreline, across the road and up to the trailers in the Campground. Not only campers, but the many people walking, running, and biking on the road are also exposed to it. In an effort to mitigate the problem, for both the geese and waterfowl, as well the campers and others who enjoy using the lakefront, the City of Branson and the Missouri

Educational signage, “Thank You For Not Feeding Us,” helping to resolve situation

Department of Conservation have erected a number of “Thank You For Not Feeding Us” signs along the Lake Taneycomo shore line in front of the Campground. Lamar Patten, the owner of Scotty’s Trout Dock and Marina, at the south end of the campground, near the public boat launch ramp, says that, thanks to peoples cooperation in not feeding the waterfowl, it’s working. Not only is there a substantial reduction in the number of geese in the area, but in the amount of their feces that he had to clean off his parking lot each day to keep his customers from walking through it and tracking it into his business. A drive down the road between the lake and Campground indicates that those same benefits are accruing to the many people who use the road for recreation and the campers in the Campground.