It's difficult to review Beef & Board's annual Christmas Spectacular without sounding like advertising copy for the show, but here goes.
For the past eight years Linda and I have attended the Beef & Board's Christmas Spectaculars and each year they seem to get better.
Many of the songs are repeated year to year, but they are welcome numbers and we would miss them if they were left out of the program.
The show stopper this year has to be Gerald Atkins' rendition of "O Holy Night," for which he received a standing ovation Saturday.
A crowd of ladies from Brazil also attended the performance Saturday night.
They were enthusiastic about the show and particularly Mr. Atkins' solo.
"What did you like best?" I asked them on their way out.
Without hesitation, the answer was, "That man who sang, "O Holy Night"!
Linda was impressed with Mr. Atkins, too.
"I love that man!" she said. "His singing is great!"
I agree. That solo is something one would expect to hear in heaven.
But, not all the show was so reverent; there was a lot of fun, too.
Act One included such favorites as "It's the Holiday Season," "Sleigh Ride," "White Christmas," Winter Wonderland," "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and "Silver Bells."
A relative new favorite that one doesn't hear except at Beef & Boards is "Indianapolis Indeed," a beautiful melody extolling the virtues of our state's capitol city.
The act was capped off with "Santa Baby" performed by Wims and a chorus of beauties.
The sections, "A Jinglin' Christmas," "Home for the Holidays" and "Traditional Christmas" comprised Act Two.
Who can forget the sight and sound of a man in the uniform of a United States Marine singing, "I'll Be Home For Christmas." What a lump rises to one's throat when we think about our servicemen and women stationed around the world, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of course, Santa Claus was present for much of the show, along with his very shy elf, Jingle, played for the greatest comedy relief by Jeff Stockberger.
There are many new faces and voices in this year's Christmas Spectacular.
Kenny Shepard and Deb Wims serve as your hosts, bringing the variety show together in a most pleasing way. It didn't take Frank long to see parallels between this variety show and productions like the old "State Fair Variety Show" and the TV variety shows: Ed Sullivan, Garry Moore and even going back to Tennessee Ernie Ford. (Linda is too young to remember such TV shows.)
Christmas Spectacular is for the whole family, balanced and blended to be enjoyable for everyone from the oldest senior to the youngest child on his knee.