The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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November 9, 2012

Dave Woods: Branson's best come to Joplin for good cause

JOPLIN, Mo. — I had a captive audience of Branson entertainers last Saturday morning. I was backstage during the Ozarks Mountain Christmas show at MSSU's Corley Auditorium. The star-studded event raised funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States and Joplin's Ronald McDonald House.

With almost a dozen of Branson's best assembled for the live show, I decided to touch base and check in on their Christmas show plans to see what they wanted for Christmas.

Did you miss the sold out show? Don't fret. The live show was recorded for TV and Internet radio broadcasts to be aired later this holiday season. Check the Globe for air dates and times.

Jason Robinson, a former Ozark Christian College staffer who now sings with the quartet New South, was the first entertainer I ambushed and asked what he wanted for Christmas.

"I'm very excited to be expecting our third child in February," Jason said. "This show is about helping children and their families. That's what the Ronald McDonald House is all about. It is special to be a part of this."

Jason and Trey Wilson, a fellow New South singer, penned a song shortly following the Joplin tornado. The pair and their two other singing partners don't hesitate to lend a hand when called upon. "Hold On," their Joplin tribute song, is still available for download on the Internet.

"We were listening to 'Hold On' on the way up from Branson," he said. "It was nice to let David (the group's newest member) hear it. It's a different Joplin than the last time we were here as a group. The progress that Joplin's made is impressive, and we are thrilled to be here."

Trey's Christmas wish list was short but a little complicated.

"I want a baby," the 30-ish veteran entertainer said. "Everybody is having kids, and (Jason) almost has three already. I think he should just give the third one to me, and it will be our little secret. No one will ever know.

"His first two don't even look like him anyways. It's not like anybody would know."

Trey was joking, I think.

"This time of the year everyone always says they want this or that for Christmas," Trey said. "I have family and friends. I cannot think of a single thing I want or need. Just being so blessed and having the opportunities we have personally in our lives and being able to share the this time of year with the ones that you love is just all I need. It's very easy."

David Price, 24, the groups newest singer, had a simple request for Santa: "I just want a week of sleep."

Mark McCauley sings bass and has been with New South since its debut at Grand Country Music Hall more than a decade ago. His wish wasn't complicated, either.

"I want some older (New South) members," said the self-described "old man" of the group said of his younger group members. "I've worn out two or three of them over the years."

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