The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 25, 2013

Hobgood Players bring “A Carolina Christmas” to Tarboro

By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER

TARBORO — The Martin Middle School auditorium was the location of “A Carolina Christmas” Saturday evening, but the show transported audience members to a family home on Christmas Eve.

During The Hobgood Players’ show, children played checkers on the “living room floor,” while their “adult relatives” sat on the couch drinking hot cocoa. The Players took turns singing Christmas songs, as the “family members” swayed back and forth to the beat of the music and got up and danced to up-tempo songs such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

Santa Claus paid a visit during the show, taking a seat in a recliner next to a decorated Christmas tree, as Player Charles Cross sang, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” in his honor.

“I liked the warm family feeling of it,” said the Players’ producer Rhonda Mayer, adding the visit from Santa Claus was a “great highlight.”

Mr. Grinch also paid a surprise visit during Saturday’s show, stealing presents from underneath the tree and coming back on stage with Cindy Lou Who, played by Avery Sorie, 11, to return the presents. Sorie then sang Cindy’s famous song from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – “Where Are You, Christmas?”

Mayer said she also liked the variety of ages of participants in the show, including children. She said Saturday night was the first time the Players put on the show from start to finish, and she enjoyed seeing it from the perspective of an audience member.

“I hope it brought them a sense of an old-fashioned Christmas, with the secular as well as the sacred. It was the whole Christmas package to put them in the spirit,” Mayer said. “Hopefully for merchants, it will get people in the shopping mode.”

Sacred songs in Saturday’s show included Player Josh Coley’s rendition of “We Three Kings of Orient Are” and the Eyes of Emiline’s performances of “Mary Did You Know?” and “Silent Night.” Some of the secular pieces in the show were “Two Step ‘Round the Christmas Tree,” sang by Player Jo Ann Josey, and “Jingle Bell Rock,” sang by Eyes of Emiline.

“The show was fantastic, very colorful, seasonal. It put me in the spirit. Those who didn’t come missed a very good show,” said Carol Banks, member of the Edgecombe County Veterans’ Military Museum’s board of directors. Saturday’s show was a fundraiser for the museum and The Hobgood Players.

In the spirit of “A Carolina Christmas,” Cross ended Saturday’s show by leading the cast in the tune “Christmas in Dixie.”

The Hobgood Players will perform “A Carolina Christmas” again at 8 p.m. Dec. 6 in the municipal auditorium in Scotland Neck.