BWW Review: OLD TIME RADIO GOSPEL HOUR Swings Servant Stage Company
What's your music? Bluegrass? Barbershop? Folk? Traditional gospel or updated sounds? There's a sound for everyone at Servant Stage Company's OLD TIME RADIO GOSPEL HOUR, currently at Lancaster Bible College and winding up next weekend at the Red Caboose Motel. Each performance is different from the last, with a wide variety of groups and musical styles.
But don't look for entire CD compilations of gospel barbershoppers The King's Fishers or the dynamic folk performers Wayfaring Strangers, or the baroque-harmony-inspired Servant Sisters. All of the groups on stage are fictional; they're local musical theatre actors and singers who are arranged, for the production, into rotating gospel groups. Every performance features a mix of bluegrass gospel, barbershop, and other gospel styles, with a cappella performers, musical groups, and soloists, and even children's gospel performances. There are, however, some CDs of various performances from the shows, some of which may be songs by your favorites of the faux-groups.
Look for medleys of well-known tunes, some Southern-fried tunes, old radio jingles, "radio DJ" jokes so old their whiskers are growing whiskers, and a bit of corny slapstick that somehow never grows old. It's almost amazing these days that something so clean can be so much fun. Sing along to "Amazing Grace" or hum while you listen to "Turn Your Radio On" or "Give Me That Old Time Religion" - your favorites will be there, and undoubtedly a few you don't know, and every performance is different.
The OLD TIME RADIO GOSPEL HOUR is, yes, set up like a live radio show, for those of us old enough to remember live radio - yes, children, there was a day before the taped and computerized sounds of Sirius XM when it all happened live. With PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION winding down (again), there's not a lot of entertainet like this happening. This is the second go-round of OLD TIME RADIO GOSPEL HOUR, and with luck, it may happen again, so yet more people can see and hear what live radio looks and sounds like, as well as enjoy some great gospel music.
Current performances are at Lancaster Bible College, and there are two final performances at the Red Caboose. Tickets for both are free but must be obtained in advance. Visit servantstagecompany.com for tickets and information, and for news of Servant Stage's summer camp at Lancaster Bible College. Up next, SHERLOCK HOLMES in August.