Brothers/Lennon Sisters show
a special Christmas Blessing for Branson
Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull, Editor
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
What is really special about this show is that it is the raw skill of the
entertainer’s not production and special effects. Oh, sure there are
sets and decorations but, at the end of the day, it is the obvious
skill of the performers involved who make it the special experience
that it is. The seamless subtle way that the extremely talented band,
composed of Steve Smith, who has been playing guitar for the
Gatlins for years, George Perilli on percussion, Galen Butler on
the keyboard, and the addition of Mike Cathcart on guitar, with the
Lennon Sisters, blends in with the performers voices accentuating
and highlighting the beauty and harmony of their voices rather
than overpowering them.
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 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
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 (see photos above).
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!