A Holiday Tradition, an All-New Charleston Christmas Special Takes the Stage for 13 Shows in December

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – More than 10,000 people make the Charleston Christmas Special part of their holiday tradition each December, and this year will be no exception. Producers Brad and Jennifer Moranz of Mount Pleasant have worked all year to create a brand-new holiday show that’s nothing short of spectacular.?
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Some of the most talented singers, dancers and musicians from around the country will gather on stage at the Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St., for 13 shows from Dec. 8 to Dec. 23. Tickets are on sale now at www.bradandjennifermoranz.com or at the Charleston Music Hall Box Office. The show is family friendly, and the Thursday, Dec. 20 show is Kids’ Free Night. Purchase one full price adult ticket and get one kids’ ticket for free.
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“We spend all year working on this Christmas show, creating just the right mix of music from the serious to the silly,” Brad Moranz said. “Ask me about the highlights and I have to say every single selection is a highlight. People who have been attending for years and first-time audience members will be moved by the musical moments we’ve compiled for this year’s all-new show.”??
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Performing in the Charleston Christmas Special for the first time is New York City baritone Matthew Billman, who will sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Josh Groban’s version of “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
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For the last two years, teenage performer Jenna Flaherty stunned audiences with her operatic performance of “Ave Maria.” Flaherty, who is now living in New York City, will return to the Charleston Christmas Special to showcase her powerful vocals with Christian music icon Sandi Patty’s rendition of “O Holy Night.”??
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Another young performer will make her debut with the Charleston Christmas Special. Wando High School student Eliza Turner, 16, will bring her energy to performances of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Be a Santa.”
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After bringing down the house at Moranz Entertainment’s summertime show, Manny Houston, one of Charleston’s most talented singers and musicians, is back for the Charleston Christmas Special. Houston will perform “What Christmas Means to Me” and Wham’s “Last Christmas.”
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Audience favorite Michael Minor returns to sing and delight the crowd with a ventriloquist act to the tune of Ray Steven’s “Santa Claus is Watchin’ You.”
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The sultry and soulful Tiffany Parker returns for her 16th year with the Charleston Christmas Special. She’ll perform “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Merry Christmas Baby” while also joining Matthew Billman for a stirring rendition of “The Christmas Song.”?
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Also, part of this year’s cast is soprano Julie Bell, who has been headlining on international cruise ships, along with gospel singer Rodney Archie. They will join forces for a powerful duet of “How Great Thou Art.”?
Violinist James Anderson also joins the cast, accompanying Julie Bell on Celtic version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” This year’s musical director is local performer and pianist Demetrius Doctor.
And of course, no Moranz Entertainment show is complete without comedy sketches and dance numbers featuring Brad and Jennifer Moranz.?
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The show will end with a powerful performance of “Amen” – a song Brad Moranz said they purposely use to close out the evening and remind the audience of the meaning of the season.?
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“We spend the night entertaining and having a whole lot of fun, so it’s nice to end by bringing it back around to why we’re celebrating this time of year,” he said. “This song completely celebrates Jesus’ birth.”?
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Performances are:?
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18?
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20 (Kids’ Free Night)
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23
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Tickets are $41 for adults; $38 for seniors (age 62 and up) and military; $22 for students 21 and under; $19 for children 12 and under. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $35 each. Tickets are on sale at www.CharlestonMusicHall.com or by calling 843-853-2252 (Box Office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday).?
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Purchase a Dinner & Show Ticket for a night out on the town. This ticket is $70 per person and includes one adult ticket to the Charleston Christmas Special and a pre-fixe dinner menu at Vincent Chicco’s, located next door to the Charleston Music Hall. Dinner reservations required; call Vincent Chicco’s at 843-203-3002.
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Moranz Entertainment on Social Media:
Instagram @MoranzEntertainment?
Photos of the Charleston Christmas Special – Photo credit Damon R. Smith

To The Bravery and Courage of Those Fallen – Reflections of Memorial Day

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This weekend is a time of reflection and remembrance to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.? A life of honor is a life fulfilled.? Each one of those men and women that dedicated their lives to a great unknown with the sole purpose of giving us the freedom to breathe the air of freedom, we will not forget you.? Sometimes pictures say all the words you need.

To those brave individuals that carry on the legacy of those fallen, we stand beside you with pride and hope, so that one day, you may never need to fight again.

To all the mothers, fathers, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents that gave their mind, body and soul to raising the flag of hope for a better tomorrow, we share in your fears and keep you deep in our prayers.

Quotes and Images of Devotion, Dedication and Commitment – We honor the past, the present and future

F”reedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.” ~Thomas Campbell

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” ~Abraham Lincoln

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” ~Thomas Paine

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Let freedom never perish in your hands.” ~Joseph Addison

“Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” – Stephen R. Covey

“I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams.” – Madonna

“Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“History does not teach fatalism. There are moments when the will of a handful of free men breaks through determinism and opens up new roads.” ~Charles de Gaulle

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”?–Joseph Campbell

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”?–Elmer Davis

“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.”?–Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”?–Benjamin Disraeli

“Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.”?–Washington Irving

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.”?–G.K. Chesterton

“For love of country they accepted death.” —James A. Garfield

“These heroes are dead. They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars – they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.” —Robert G. Ingersoll

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I’ll proudly stand next to him to defend her still today, ‘cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA.” -Lee Greenwood

“The story of America’s quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots.” -Randy Vader

“The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.” -Rev. Aaron Kilbourn

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” -John F. Kennedy

“They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast, and their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Battle of Lovell’s Pond

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.” —Thomas Campbell

“And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.” —Joseph Rodman Drake

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” -Billy Graham

You are all Heroes!!!

Photos:? National Military Cemetery – Beaufort, South Carolina

 

 

 

 

Independence Day is about Family

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By Mark A. Leon

For once Facebook got it right.

As I browsed through the wall posts this evening, the one common theme throughout most of the pictures was family. Whether it was on the boat, at the beach, in the pool, by the grill or just playing in the yard, the day’s memories shared are those of families sharing in celebration.

Several years back, I had the fortunate opportunity to be on the America’s Dream Team radio show out of Lincoln, UK (www.sirenonline.co.uk or on 107.3FM) to talk about July 4th and the question was posed to me, “What does July 4th mean in the states?” After a moment of thought, I stated that in the end it is about family. Yes there is grilling, beaches and fireworks, but like Christmas, Easter and other significant holidays, it is one shared with family and friends.

America is an incredible country that is built on so many freedoms that we often take for granted the level of peace and acceptance we have all around. Today is a day not only to celebrate but to reflect and truly understand the importance the struggles our forefathers made and the sacrifices our soldiers and statesman continue to make around the world so we and our children can continue to celebrate each year.

Independence Day is a symbol of all that we stand for. Through the music, movies and tapestry of flags flying from every home, we are surrounded with a beautiful shower of red white and blue.

I was able to spend today with family in person and by phone. When I think of my special holiday memories, they aren’t crazy over the top risk taking events, they are the simple times shared with the people that have always been important to me.

Today is no different.

I am proud to be an American
I am proud to be a son
I am proud to be a friend
I am proud to be an uncle
Most of all, I am proud and honored to be free.

Today is our Independence Day. A time to shout to the moon and rejoice in all we have as the rockets red glare in the sky.

I hope each and every one of you had an amazing day that you will remember always.

A Folly Starfish Christmas Story

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By Minta Pavliscsak

It was Christmas Eve in our little slice of Folly Under the Sea. This year things around me seemed more calm than usual. Everyfish seemed to be ahead of the typical hustle and bustle of the season. That is, every fish except for me. I like to live in the here and now, which means I am really good when it comes to what others view as procrastinating. I like to think of it more as I work well under pressure. That aside, I was bobbing from store to store as quickly as I could but a starfish can only go as fast as the current takes him and today the current was in no rush.

Somehow I managed to squeak in grocery shopping, picking up my famous last minute –but always perfect– gifts, visiting a few friends, and even getting a relaxing arm massage at Sacred Arm Massage & Healing Arts. Floating home, I looked around at all the happy fish. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was glistening brightly through the waves. There were even surfboards overhead, and not a shark sighting all day. The small fish were playing with each other and singing carols in anticipation of what tonight would bring. The bigger fish were holding hands and sneaking kisses, just as giddy as the little ones.

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Finally making it home, I put on my favorite Michael Bubble Christmas album and started wrapping presents. Later that evening, I enjoyed the sunset in my back sand where I could see the human’s Folly Christmas tree off in the distance. Those humans are so creative! Who would think to put a Christmas tree on the beach anyway? ?After Christmas Eve dinner and appeasing carol singers who literally would not leave until I gave them figgy pudding –good thing I picked up dates at the store– I finally settled in to rest until Christmas day.

However, it was a restless sleep, and when I did drift off I had crazy dreams. One was of a psychedelic octopus. He just kind of joyfully floated in one spot, smiling and waving almost glowing in the surf. And then I woke up. Then there was the dream of a sandcastle Santa Claus. Had I seen the humans building one on the beach? Had Santa visited me and I sleepily caught him? Was Santa Claus really made out of sand? The psychedelic octopus seemed to make more sense than that! Maybe I was just as excited as every fish else that I had seen the day before. After all, Christmas is my most favorite of all the holidays. And even after all these years, I have never stopped believing. I gave into my excitement and floated out of bed, cranked up the Bubble, and got ready for the day.

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As I put on my funny Santa attire, the smile that would remain ever present for the day crept across my face. How silly of me to think there would be sleep on the eve of today of all days! The doorbell rang. My friends and family had arrived. It was the beginning of another perfect Christmas Under the Folly Sea.

From our family to yours,
Happy Christmas, Merry Everything!

Never Stop Believing

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in Charleston

‘Twas the night before Christmas in Charleston and all through the streets, not a rickshaw was wheeling, not even an Uber beep
King Street was snoozing and Market Street a whisper
Not a skater was skating, not even a hipster sipping a PBR

The lights of the Marion Square Tree illuminated to the stars as the squirrels nestled under tree sharing acorns and glee
The pirate ghosts of White Point Garden hope this is the year Santa will be give them scissors so they may cut their noose and be free

The bells of St. Michaels guide the sleigh through the moonlight
St. Philips and Unitarian join in
The holy city, strong in spirit, sing in prayer and rejoice on another wonderful year

Oh Holy Night, from Cistern to East Bay, light our hearts with this Southern fire
From Sullivan’s to Folly, the waves dance to the music of the season
The angels perch high above the Cooper River Bridge waving and dancing to the sailboats ahead

Now we lay our heads to rest, but not without a special gift for St. Nick
A bowl of Shrimp and Grits and a craft pint or Chicken and waffles instead

In the deep silence of the night, we can hear the sounds of bells chime in our dreams while the deep rugged voice of Santa call out, “on Dasher, Prancer, Dewberry and Spector.? On Fig, on Husk, On Oak, On Ordinary.”
Or perhaps our dreams play games in our heads as we visualize a year to be thankful

A Merry Christmas to you Charleston and to all a good night

 

 

Photographic Highlights of the 2016 Charleston Holiday Parade

The forecast was cloudy with a chance of rain in downtown Charleston yesterday, but that did not stop hundreds along the route of Broad Street, King Street and Meeting Street from donning their best holiday attire and enjoying one of the nicest community events of the season.? From the Mayor to Santa, the community of Charleston waved and cheered on the floats, bands, cars and decorated parade participants as they journeyed through the streets.

For those that could not attend, we wanted to capture some of the moments from yesterday’s holiday parade.

As you can see, there is a strong sense of love and community that came out to witness yesterday’s event.? Even with the chance of rain, it did not stop the dedicated volunteers, officers and patrons from coming together.

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Happy Holidays

 

 

 

 

What Charleston is Thankful for in 2016

Charleston, we asked and here is what you are thankful for at the start of this holiday season…

-“Family.”

-“Thankful I’m a teacher and can still make a difference in the world of a child.”

-“Family and beauty of Charleston and its people.”

-“Fish fingers and custard.”

-“My work ethic.”

-“My friends and family, opportunity, and beauty.”

-“Generosity of friends and family, and that this baby seems to be developing well.”

-“Time off with family.”

-“Sanity.”Thanksgiving People Table

-“Life. Family. Friendship. Health.”

-“Nap time!”

-“Thankful when nothing is left unsaid.”

-“Family.”

-“Home, health, family, experience.”

-“That I wake up each morning to a new day.”

-“Wine and ice cream.”

-“To have friends and family that I can count on.”

-“Healthy kids, affectionate pets, loyal and loving friends, and the respect of my parents.”

-“Wonderfully, amazing friends who love me for me.”

-“2016 is almost over.”

-“God, my family and friends.”

-“Three children, Alyssa, Kyle, and Blake and for their strength and perseverance. Beyond blessed.”

-“A new start at a new life.”

-“Indoor plumbing…and soft toilet paper.”

-“Family.”

-“Still breathing.”

-“To be able to watch the sunrise.”

-“The relationship with my family.”

-“Family.”

-“Coffee, so I am able to wake up early to catch my flight to visit friends and family for Thanksgiving.”

-“To be alive for the holidays.” #CancerStrong

-“Family, good health and America.”

-“The time that we did have together.”

-“Supportive family and friends, a new career that I love, and health.”

-“The immense amount of love I’m surrounded by with my Charleston family…especially when so far from my actual family.”

-“Selfless friends who spend their time helping me fix my truck.”

-“Family, friends, good health, salt water, diet green tea and that I can smile every day.”

-“Family.”

Princess Diana is given credit for the saying “Family is the most important thing in the world,” however we have known this for centuries. Given how our hearts’ shine, it is no surprise that family appears as a reoccurring value amongst Charlestonians.


Happy Thanksgiving,
from our family to yours