The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Best of Branson

March 8, 2012

Grand Country water park, theater packed in fun spot

BRANSON Mo. — Carolyn Emmert can’t get enough of Grand Jubilee.

“I love the show,” the 66-year-old Minnesota native said following a performance of the longtime Branson musical variety show. “I like all of the shows at Grand Country. I love New South and I love Wayne (Massengale) the fiddler. We come all the time.”

Bob Emmert, 64, Carolyn’s husband, said he likes the show’s lights, costumes and pace.

“I like the variety and the staging impresses me,” he said. ”It’s a fast moving show. They change it up all the time so there is always something new to see. The show is absolutely exciting, but we say that about all of their shows.”

The Emmerts are not alone. Six days a week thousands of music and comedy fans pack the Grand Country Music Hall, 1945 West Highway 76, to catch Grand Jubilee or one of the other comedy, gospel or mountain music shows the complex offers.

Grand Jubilee features New South, Grand Country’s house quartet, musical host Mike Patrick and the comic relief of Jamie Haage as Jim Dandy. A cadre of veteran vocalists and band members fill out the show casts.

Patrick and Haage lace the two-hour show together with family friendly comedy, quick banter and audience interaction. The pair even tosses in few musical numbers of their own.

During Patrick’s time as general manager of the Music Hall at Grand Country, he’s built a loyal following. The crew at the theater consider many of their regular guests, dubbed “The Wild Bunch,” their extended family.

“It’s a family atmosphere, not only for the guests, but for the employees,” Patrick said. “I pinch myself every day. Is this really a job? When you come in to work at night, the co-workers and employees are your friends. It’s a perfect situation.”

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