MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 19, 2013

Singing Santas’ gift: memories

Trio to perform at Three Rivers Museum for fundraiser

By Leilani Roberts Ott
Phoenix Correspondent

— Jeremy Jones will never forget the Christmas his mother, Cindy Adams, played "Mario World" on his brand-new Super Nintendo with him.

Christmas memories are what Jones and The Singing Santas hope to bring to guests at their performance of “A Holiday Scrapbook” at 7 p.m. today, and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Three Rivers Museum, 220 Elgin St. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Sue Tolbert, museum executive director, said it’s the second year for The Singing Santas to come to the museum in their Santa suits and perform for the crowd. It’s a fundraiser for the museum. She called it “a wonderful collection of music.”

“It is something fun to do for Christmas,” she said. “And we’ll have punch, coffee and homemade cookies.”

Jones called it a “family-friendly” event lasting just under two hours with an intermission. Tolbert said guests will have time to visit the museum’s gift shop for special holiday items, gifts and decorations. They also can tour the museum and see the old toys and a 1940s doll house on display just for the holidays.

Besides Jones, The Singing Santas consists of Billy Gardner and Marty McConnell, and the elf, Forest Collins, who plays piano. The trio performs at churches and special events. Jones and Gardner sang for last year’s show. McConnell is a new Santa.

“We all have pretty good range,” Jones said. “I’m a tenor. It’s nice to hear our harmonies. It’s a wonderful program full of stories and songs. There are some surprises in the show.”

The program is not the same as last year but will include a couple of favorites. Jones’ pick is “O Holy Night.”

“The version I remember is with a full orchestra,” he said. “The high note at the end. ... I tear up every time.”

Jones grew up going to Wesley United Methodist Church, where he has been the music director for about seven years. He is also a circulation library assistant at Muskogee Public Library. He didn’t grow up singing in church as a lot of vocalists do.

He started playing piano at 8 and then started lessons at 10. At Muskogee High School, he played trumpet in the band for the late Bill Hearn.

Jones didn’t know he could sing until he went to college and a friend encouraged him to try. Vocal lessons followed, and he found he had a passion for it.

While singing in a men’s recital he crossed paths with “Mr. Hearn.”

“That’s when I heard the best compliment of my life. He said how did he miss me in all those years in high school.”

Jones’ mother won’t miss a thing this weekend. She’ll be making new Christmas memories with her son.

“My mom will be at all the performances,” he said.

If you go

WHAT: The Singing Santas present “A Holiday Scrapbook.”

WHEN: 7 p.m. today, and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

WHERE: Three Rivers Museum, 220 Elgin.

TICKETS: $10 available in advance at the museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday, or at the door.

INFORMATION: (918) 686-6624 or www.3riversmuseum.com.