Branson Chamber Chatter
Motown, Rock 'N Roll Keep Summer Hot
July Celebrity Birthdays:
Dee Dee Hamilton, July 13
Dino Kartsonakis: July 20
Pam Tillis: July 24
Bill Lennon: July 29
Pam Tillis is celebrating a birthday this month. She'll be back in Branson on Sept. 16 at the Welk Resort Theatre with her daddy, Mel Tillis, her brother Mel Tillis, Jr., and her sister, Carrie April Tillis. Branson producer Joe Sullivan is bringing the "Tillis Family Reunion" for the second year with shows through Oct. 25, he says.
Carrie April, who studied theater and opera in college, now lives in New York City and Nashville. She likes to surprise audiences by singing a country song followed by an operatic aria. She reports she's currently at the Mountain Playhouse in Jennerstown, Penn., where a recent role was Tammy Wynette in "Stand By Your Man – The Tammy Wynette Story." She's got a new CD out called "Roundtrip" that she describes as a blend of country, Americana and bluegrass.
Another birthday girl this month is Dee Dee Hamilton, who sang for some time with The Platters. Dee Dee's currently appearing at the Hot Hits "Motown Downtown" Theatre in historic downtown Branson. She's part of "The Hot Hits Experience" show presented by Rico J., who was a recent guest on the Branson Community Connection, airing at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays on The Vacation Channel.
Rico J said he used to be a railroad conductor, but always wanted to be a singer. He got his start when he was a child and sang an Elvis song in a talent show. "I liked the cheers of the crowd," he said.
Also in "Hot Hits" is Nedgra Culp, who graduated music studies at Southwest Baptist University. Nedgra drove Wayne Newton crazy while he was in Branson. She sang backup in his show and got better reviews than Newton.
Also in the show is Chico Vega who was with The Drifters and Dee Dee Vega doing a Tina Turner tribute.
A group from the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce recently attended a matinee of Bill Haley's band, The Comets, at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theatre. It's hot rock 'n' roll coming right from the guys who invented the genre. Dave Somerville, the lead singer of The Diamonds opens the show. Remember "Little Darlin'" in 1957? Somerville, who's 75, said he doesn't mind getting older. "The older I get, the better I was," he said.
Also in the show is McKenna Medley, Righteous Brother Bill Medley's 21-year-old daughter, who has a beautiful and powerful voice. According to her MySpace page, she first headlined in Las Vegas when she was 15.
The Titanic Museum Attraction recently welcomed its one-millionth visitor. Owners John Joslyn and Mary Kellogg Joslyn gave prizes and a lifetime museum membership to David and Liz Richey of Warren, Ark., and their four children.
Among the fabulous special events coming up at the attraction, on Aug. 9—during the popular Shepherd Super Summer Cruise—the Liverpool Legends will play in the parking lot from 11:15 p.m. until the midnight parade.
by Kathryn Buckstaff