Christine Riutzel

Artist and SMAC board member Christine Riutzel painting a mural at Woodland Hills Church.

Greetings my Loyal Reader(s), and welcome to the latest edition of the Branson Beat, your home for all the news on the Branson entertainment scene.

As always, feel free to drop me a line at, or send me a message via our Branson Tri-Lakes News Facebook page.

Now, let’s get to it. 

Vassar/Yates show moved to March 2020  

Up Close Concerts Owner and Promoter Bob Cannella announced a Friday night show set to feature country hitmakers Phil Vassar and Billy Yates has been pushed back to March 28, 2020.

“The show is being rescheduled to fit into Phil’s 2020 tour,” Cannella said. “As a thank you to all the current ticket holders for the original date, we are upgrading everyone’s ticket to include a free meet-and-greet with Phil and Billy prior to the show.”

Cannella also announced Up Close Concerts would no longer book shows for the Branson area, instead opting to focus on Springfield. See next week’s Branson Tri-Lakes News for more.

Remaining Up Close Concerts at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater include Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the original lead singer of the Buckinghams Dennis Tufano and The Crystal’s lead singer Lala Brooks Oct. 12, as well as Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley Oct. 16, Mel “Sonny Boy” Tillis Jr. Oct. 23, Pat Boone Nov. 6, Lee Greenwood Nov. 10, T.G. Sheppard Nov. 13. Crystal Gayle will present her Christmas show Nov. 20, 2019, followed by a Greenwood Christmas show Dec. 4.

Peter Noone with Herman’s Hermits along with special guest Mitch Ryder  perform Oct. 18 at the Welk Resort Theatre.

Shows set for 2020 at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater include Amy Grant March 8, Ronnie McDowell April 1 and Wink Martindale April 2 as part of the Branson Elvis Festival, as well as the recently announced Michael W. Smith date May 9, Billy Dean on Mother’s Day, May 10, and Janie Fricke with special guests Moore & Moore on Father’s Day, June 21.

Phil Vassar and Billy Yates will perform at the Welk Resort Theatre March 8, 2020.

Shepherd’s Spooktacular starts this week

Beginning this weekend, the folks at the Shepherd of the Hills Historic Homestead and Adventure Park will begin hosting the Shepherd’s Spooktacular and Haunted Hollow, set to be featured weekends throughout  October.

According to a release, whether folks are “looking for a fun daytime location to take your kids this fall to pick out pumpkins, build a scarecrow or a horse drawn wagon ride or a scarier nighttime haunted hayride and zombie paintball, Shepherd’s Spooktacular and Haunted Hollow will have a little something for everyone.”  

Admission to the park requires an $8 “Spooktacular Ticket,” which includes access to the playground, petting zoo, tree houses, play barn, hay bale maze, obstacle course, corn pit and bounce houses. Other fun activities and events can be added for additional fees, including “Pumpkin’ Paintin’,” “Scarecrow Factory,” “Great Pumpkin Ropes Course,” the rock climbing wall, the “Haunted Hollow Hayride” and “Baldknobber Zombie Paintball.”

The “Great Pumpkin Pass” includes everything except the “Haunted Hollow Hayride” and “Baldknobber Zombie Paintball,” for $20. The “Haunted Hollow Pass,” which includes all the activities mentioned above, is $30.

The Shepherd’s Spooktacular will be held each Friday and Saturday in October from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., as well as every Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

I plan on checking this out later in the week, so grab a copy of the weekend edition of the Branson Tri-Lakes News for more. In addition to the new Spooktacular, the folks at Shepherd of the Hills also recently announced the return of longtime Branson favorite Todd Oliver for shows later this year. 

There is all kind of awesomeness at the Shepherd of the Hills, and it just keeps getting better and better.

Area artists to beautify Branson’s Murphy Park  

Southern Missouri Arts Connection, SMAC, has teamed up with the city of Branson to paint a mural along a 200-foot retaining wall in Murphy Park, located on Park Drive off Spring Creek Road. 

Christine Riutzel, a local muralist, will be heading a team of seven other area artists. 

While the design concept development has long since been underway, actual painting will take place from Oct. 3-8. 

The Branson Department of Parks and Recreation is providing the paint and a graffiti-proof clear coat to seal it once the painting is finished. In addition to Riutzel, the art team includes Lacey Finch, Lydia Hoskins, Michaela Kershaw, Ariel Smith, Mary Evelyn Tucker with assistance from Mary Arneson, and Megan Wagler, all of whom donated their time and talents to this labor intense public art project:  

Each artist will take a section of the wall to paint their own design. The themes are local nature, positive words and kid friendly colorful elements. Once the sections are painted, they will collaborate to connect them into a cohesive, fluid mural.

According to a release, it is SMAC’s hope a continuing partnership can be established with the city of Branson to bring more public murals into the community for all to enjoy. 

“My biggest goal with SMAC is to provide the area with public art that inspires others,” Riutzel said. “Sponsorship from local businesses and civic minded residents are also being sought for future public art projects.”

For more information on being a sponsor, contact Riutzel at 

All sponsorships are tax deductible.

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