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Christmas Radio Hour to benefit Kansas Food Bank

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at 2:13 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at 6:02 p.m.


If You Go

Christmas Radio Hour

What: Christmas Radio Hour: A Benefit for the Kansas Food Bank

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Wichita Scottish Rite Center, 332 E. First St. at the corner of First and Topeka in downtown Wichita

Broadcast: The program will be aired at 7 p.m. Tuesday on KNSS, 1330 AM, and will be rebroadcast at 7 a.m. on Christmas Day.

Admission: Free to attend with a donation of at least one nonperishable food item

Parking: Parking is available in the lot north of the building. Enter at the northeast entrance.

A unique yuletide event is happening Tuesday that will give audiences the chance to be part of a live radio broadcast while helping those in need. The Kansas Aviation Museum and the Air Capital Chorus have teamed up with KNSS Radio to produce an old-fashioned comedy show that celebrates the holidays with humor and cheer. The event, which will take place at the Wichita Scottish Rite Center, is a benefit for the Kansas Food Bank. Organizers say it’s also a rare opportunity to capture some traditional Christmas magic.

“It’s a pretty special thing to be part of a live radio audience these days. That just doesn’t happen anymore,” said Lon Smith, executive director of the Kansas Aviation Museum. “This is one of the most unique holiday events in town because of that. It’s a great opportunity for families to get into the Christmas spirit and celebrate with a bit of nostalgia.”

Smith, who wrote and directed the show, noted that this will be the third annual staging of the event and the first time it will take place at the Scottish Rite Center. The program will air live on KNSS Radio and also be available via podcast. Admission is free, although attendees are asked to donate at least one nonperishable food item per person. Smith said most people bring more than the minimum and some donate an entire case of food.

The program is a joint venture between Smith, several vocal groups and the radio station. The Air Capital Chorus, a barbershop group, will team up with the Wichita Chorus Sweet Adelines for a family-friendly production that will be performed largely in barbershop vocal harmony, a style of four-part a cappella. The quartets Chic, Five Is Right Out, Mixed Up and Ring Theory will perform several numbers.

Songs featured include secular holiday classics like “Frosty the Snowman,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Jingle Bells,” along with religious numbers like “Silent Night.” Humor will be mixed in between the music, with several original sketches being staged. One involves Santa’s elves going on strike. Steve McIntosh of KNSS will emcee the evening. Santa Claus also will make a guest appearance and be available for photos after the show.

This year’s skits include recently written material as well as some recycled classics.

“I’ve been running this radio show format since the late ’90s,” Smith said. “It’s evolved and I enjoy doing it. I also sing barbershop music. We thought it’d be a perfect fit with the Air Capital Chorus and a great way to involve the Kansas Aviation Museum in giving back to the community.”

The show, which usually draws about 500, will run about an hour and 15 minutes with no intermission.

“This event has such a fun vibe and it’s for a great cause. We need to be mindful of those who are less fortunate than us,” Smith said. “It’s the sort of experience that families can come to and enjoy regardless of age. We see generations really come together. It’s all about giving. It’s giving the city a great evening of entertainment, but more importantly it’s giving back to help people in need.”

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