Kingdom Heirs

Kingdom Heirs

Today (6/16/15), we headed back to Dollywood to check out the new shows we had missed. Dollywood is celebrating 30 years in business this year, and The Kingdom Heirs are celebrating just as many as part of the park. Though members of the group have come and gone, from the newest member who has only been in the group two months to the oldest who was part of the group before it came to Dollywood, this group has a passion and professionalism that makes it easy to understand their success. They sing a mix of old and new Southern Gospel, blending hymns “From the Redbook” with newer songs, but always with the theme of loving and honoring Jesus. Definitely a tow-tapping experience, and a must for any lover of quartets. I also learned that The Kingdom Heirs had topped a number of Southern Gospel charts with several hit songs, as well as an album that’s sold over a million copies.  A bedrock of Dollywood, this group should not be missed!  You can check them out at Kingdom Heirs

My People:  Dolly's family

My People: Dolly’s family

After The Kingdom Heirs, we rushed over to hear a newer show, My People, featuring members of Dolly’s family including a brother and sister, 2 nieces, and 2 cousins (pictured left to right.)   This show blended live performance with video of Dolly herself.  Dolly shared a number of her childhood experiences, and other family members added special memories of Dolly or their family.  It was neat for me to watch the interactions of this portion of the Parton family (Dolly’s mom and dad had 12 children, so the whole family must be huge.)
It may just be good acting, but this family seems to genuinely like each other and be close knit.  Having spent so much time making music together in their childhood, they have a tremendous opportunity to make music together again.  One of the things that set this group apart was that they take the opportunity after the show to meet and speak with any member of the audience who desires to do so.  (The Kingdom Heirs normally do this, but today had to rush off to Nashville for an awards event.)  You can check out their show here: My People

Rhododendrons in bloor

Rhododendrons in bloom

We hadn’t planned on watching the Gazillion Bubble show, but the fact that it was in the largest theater made us curious.  I’m so glad we did!  Deni Yang is a one of a kind artist (or apparently a 5 of a kind, as it seems his whole family is in the bubble business.)  Deni himself has been performing for twenty years (though starting performing at age 4 makes him still very young.)  While Deni has amazing talent, (Since there’s no photography, you can check him out here: Deni Yang) the thing that most impressed me was the way that he interacted with the younger members of the audience.  He involved them in everything from dancing at the beginning to putting them inside of bubbles, to a wonderful story in which a little girl sees her dream of snow.  He kneels down to talk to children (gets on their level), escorts them to and from stage holding their hands, and gives them presents, all the while making them feel amazingly important.  It was a beautiful thing.  And, as I heard the gasps, laughter, and excitement of the audience as thousands of bubbles cascaded over them, I was reminded that there’s just something about bubbles that makes people happy!

Smokey Mountains

Smokey Mountains

With three shows under our belts, we headed to the visitor’s center to plan our early morning jaunt to Cade’s Cove in hopes of seeing both fawns and bears, only to find out that the park wouldn’t be open until 10 tomorrow–they were opening early for cyclists.  So, that brought a change of plans.  We decided to take the Roaring Forks Motor Nature Trail to see if we could find Rhododendrons or wildlife.  The Rhododendrons were blooming gloriously, though the time of day didn’t provide the best light (We may head back here tomorrow.) But, no bears this trip.  After a beautiful drive beside babbling brooks and glorious flowering trees, it was time to say goodnight to the Smokies for another day.

 

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