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Two helpings of holiday fun

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Do you prefer a more traditional holiday entertainment? Or are you seeking something more daring and edgy this season? Either way, Central Lakes College’s (CLC) Cultural Arts Series has you covered.

The Steele Family Christmas show plays at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus. Series producer Patrick Spradlin welcomes this multi-talented family back for the third consecutive season.

“They’re considered the first family of gospel, soul, jazz and blues in the Twin Cities,” said Spradlin. “Their Christmas show played at the Fitzgerald Theatre for years. I’ve been very fortunate to bring them to Brainerd as often as I have.”

The Steeles are a family group of brothers and sisters that consist of J.D., Fred, Jearlyn, Jevetta, and Billy Steele. They have been singing together since they were young children growing up in Gary, Ind. They began to develop their style and soul in Minneapolis in the 1980s with Prince and Jam and Soul Asylum as the music scene grew in the city. The Steeles have won every music award offered in the state of Minnesota, in addition to awards and nominations from the Grammys to the Oscars. They’ve recorded with Prince, Donald Fagen, Morgan Freeman, George Clinton, Kim Carnes, Blind Boys, James Cleveland and Mahalia Jackson.

“This show is family oriented and just the kind of traditional Christmas show many people really enjoy,” said Spradlin. “I have a reception for the audience afterwards to meet with the Steeles. At this writing, I only have two dozen or so tickets remaining. This has become a yearly tradition here.”

For those who prefer their holidays to have a little more zing and zest, The Rock ‘n Roll Xmas Spectacular returns for its fourth smash appearance on Wednesday for two performances. Fronted by Ted Manderfeld of “Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos”, the 8 piece band includes members of the Fabulous Armadillos and other guest artists from the St. Cloud area and Twin Cities.

“If you’ve never heard this group, you have to give it a try,” said Spradlin. “Think of Christmas carols sung in the style of rock artists like AC/DC, KISS, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones and others. This show is high energy, high volume, non-stop fun.”

The show is so popular that the originally scheduled performance sold out very quickly, according to Spradlin. “As a result, we’ve added another show at an earlier time.”

Tickets for the 5:30 p.m. performance are on sale but going fast, Spradlin said. “I put these tickets on sale less than a week ago and have already sold half the house.”

Tickets for either the Steele Family Christmas or the Rock ‘n Roll Xmas Spectacular are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at 218-855-8199 or online at Patrons who have tickets for the sold-out 7:30 p.m. Rock ‘n Roll Xmas show are advised that the show may begin a few minutes late, but that the delay will be minimal.

“Either, or both, of these shows are a great way to get into the holiday spirit,” said Spradlin.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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