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AMT Announces Christmas Show Schedule

November 17, 2007

Contributing Business Writer

The American Mountain Theater’s spectacular Christmas show sets the stage for a magical night of holiday memories. From Christmas classics to contemporary favorites, audiences delight in the variety of musical selections of this show. Sparkling lighting, sets and costumes, as well as the cast and crew, make this holiday treat a must see.

The concept of AMT’s Christmas show originated at the theater owned by Kenny Sexton in the Ozarks. That theater was the first to stage a Christmas show in 1983, and now every show in Branson, Mo., has its version of a Christmas show and so does the American Mountain Theatre.

The AMT cast, plus some added artists, performs sacred, country and pop/secular musical selections and skits glorifying this most blessed holiday and the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. Be part of this joyful celebration as we praise him and give thanks for the one holy night long ago in a stable in Bethlehem. If you love Christmas, you’ll love American Mountain Theater’s Christmas spectacular.

Performances will be on Friday, Nov. 24, 25 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. On Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, and 15, shows will be performed at 7:30 p.m. On Dec. 2, 9 and 16, matinees will be performed at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices, including sales tax, are: adults, $20; the senior or group rate, $17; children age 5 to 11, $11, and children up to age 4, free.

While we’re on the subject of the AMT, its grand opening on the evening of Nov. 10 was a smashing success, with good reason — they were performing for Gov. Joe Manchin and his wife, Gayle, and many other dignitaries and guests. The performers’ energy lever was set to “extremely high” and the performance couldn’t have been better. It was unfortunate that the governor and Mrs. Manchin could not stay to enjoy the entire show, but their departure had no effect on the quality of the second half.

Talking to, and listening to folks in the lobby after the show, was also an enlightening experience. The most common comment I heard was, “Wow, I had no idea that there was this level of talent anywhere near Elkins, West Virginia.” Another was, “What a wonderfully talented family.”

From a purely business point of view it was, “This is the best thing to happen to Elkins for a long, long time. This town is certainly destined to become a true tourist destination instead of a stop along the way.”

There are, of course, other things in the mix to make this happen — the newly renovated railroad depot with its Welcome Center and the Scenic Railroad Excursions, to mention just two. But the AMT is certainly a major player. Some say we are destined to become a “Little Branson.”

Think about this, too, folks. Can you imagine the pride of the true genesis of this success and merriment — “Pee Wee” and Helen Heckle? What a great feeling it must have been for Mrs. Heckle to sit and watch her daughters and grandchildren perform for our governor, and for “Pee Wee” to, once again, be able to perform with them.

During their shows, the Heckle gang alludes to Susie’s dream of being able to perform in a magnificent theater in her hometown coming true. Well, Susie, we’re glad that your dream came true, and we’re also glad that your dream was one that we, too, can share.

The special efforts by The Phillips Group made the reception a glaring success also. The giant-sized tent that provided more than adequate room, and shelter, for socializing with friends and acquaintances and making new ones helped get the evening off with high spirits and great fun. The food and beverage service provided by Beanders could not have been topped.


This segment may not be strictly about business in the purest sense, but it might save a life. I’m not usually on the roads early in the morning when the schoolchildren are waiting for the school buses to pick them up. Thursday, however, was an exception.

As everyone will remember, the weather was foggy with a light rain falling. The roads were, of course, wet, and reflected vehicles’ head lights leaving the road very difficult to see. As I was coming down Chenoweth Creek around 6:30 a.m., I met another car near the street that enters the Mountain View Mobile Home Park. The lights of the oncoming automobile made it impossible to see beyond his (or her) headlights as the vehicle approached. The instant the car passed me, I saw several schoolchildren standing on, or right beside, the white line that marks the edge of the road. If we had met directly opposite where the children were standing, I would not have seen them. If the oncoming automobile had crowded me or if I had elected to give it a little extra room, I could have hit one of those kids. That is a sickening thought, isn’t it?

I mentioned this to several of the people who work at the state road equipment repair shop where I dropped my wife off for work. Without exception, they agreed that this is a situation they see around the valley every morning on their way to work.

If it takes a bit of sarcasm to get your attention, then let me be so by asking you parents, “Don’t you care enough for your children to teach them to stand back away from the road a safe distance while waiting for the school bus? Can’t you teach them the dangers they face as they wait?”

It would be hard to determine who would suffer most should one of these kids get hurt or, worse yet, hit and killed — the family of the child or the driver of the vehicle. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened yet, but it could. Let’s take measures now that will prevent such a tragedy.

Please, folks, for the sake of your children’s safety, teach them to stand a safe distance from the road while they wait for the school bus. Better yet, instill in your children the responsibility and initiative of helping with this problem by, first, keeping a safe distance between themselves and the road, and watching over younger ones that they too, remain a safe distance from moving traffic. The human body is no match for all that steel on wheels coming at them at high rates of speed.


The holiday season is upon us once again. It’s the time of year we look forward to with anticipation of the excitement of being with family and friends. It’s also a time of stress what with the frustrations and discourtesies that come with all the shopping that needs attended to in the crowded stores and shopping malls. It would be so much more fun if everyone would be a little more considerate of others and take an extra dose of patience with that first cup of coffee each morning. Be all of these things as they will be, Sue and I wish everyone a happy (and safe) Thanksgiving holiday. To the deer hunters of the next few weeks (I hope to be one of them), be safe, know what you are shooting at, and good luck in the hunt.



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