Need that one more perfect gift to finish out your holiday shopping? The Lutcher Theater in Orange has just what you have been looking for this season. On Thursday, Dec. 29, you and your guests can see and hear the world famous Mannheim Steamroller at either the 4 or 7:30 p.m. performance. America’s favorite Christmas music artists, with their spectacular and beloved holiday show, will take the Lutcher stage and own the evening with their electrifying presentations.Grammy Award winner and mastermind behind the group Chip Davis will direct and co-produce the performances with Magicspace Entertainment. The two shows will feature the favorite Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with state-of-the-art multimedia effects in an intimate setting. This gift will be remembered for years to come.
Mannheim Steamroller is an American musical group founded by Davis and Jackson Berkey and has sold 40 million albums in the United States alone. Mannheim Steamroller began as an alias for record producer/composer Davis and comes from an 18th-century German musical technique. “Mannheim roller is a crescendo passage having a rising melodic line over an ostinato bass line, popularized by the Mannheim school of composition,” said Davis. No major label would handle the distribution, forcing Davis to found his own, American Gramaphone, to release the 1975 album Fresh Aire. Fresh Aire II was released in 1977 and Fresh Aire III in 1979. All of these albums maintained the blend of baroque classical music, light jazz and a light sense of humor. Other Fresh Aire albums would follow, setting the course of success for this group.
Beginning in 1984, Steamroller found its greatest success and fame when they released Mannheim Steamroller Christmas featuring contemporary interpretations of popular Yuletide favorites. Additional Christmas music would be released in 1988 and 1995, and the group has since become one of the most requested Christmas music artists of all times. The group’s annual Christmas tour has become a mainstay tradition right along with eggnog for adults and cookies and milk for Santa.
“When tickets went on sale in September for all of our events,” said Jim Clark, managing director for the Lutcher, “we saw immediately that The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller was going to fill up very quickly. We were able to convince the management for the group to schedule a second show for 4 p.m. thinking that people would be off and free to attend during the week following Christmas and before New Year’s Eve.” Clark added that the Lutcher is thrilled with hosting Mannheim Steamroller in Southeast Texas for the very first time.
“Whenever live musicians play at the Lutcher Theater, they always comment about how much they love the sound of the hall. Our curved brick walls create the ideal environment for live music,” said Clark. “Audiences enjoy a bright sound, and we anticipate that the people coming to hear Mannheim Steamroller will marvel at the sound of their music and truly be wowed by the whole concert experience of the event.”
Additional Texas performances are only in Dallas, Austin and Hidalgo, and there are not any performances in Louisiana. “We are getting calls from all over Houston and from Monroe, Alexandria, and beyond in Louisiana. The callers are excited to find Mannheim Steamroller in our area and are willing to drive a few miles to see them in person,” said Clark.
“The Lutcher Theater is a 1,450-seat world-class performing arts facility owned by the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation and operated by Lutcher Theatre Inc. As the prominent presenter of Broadway, national and international tours, award-winning stars, renowned dance and acclaimed children’s performances for Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana, we are happy to add the performances of Mannheim Steamroller for this holiday season,” said Clark.The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller is sponsored locally by Temple Inland and the Southeast Texas Arts Council. Individual sponsor is Kenneth Wernig. The Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts is at 707 Main in Orange. Tickets range from $70 to $40 and are available at www.lutcher.org  or by calling the Lutcher box office at (409) 886-5535.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.