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30 Years of ARTC – An Atlanta Christmas 2003

This being our 30th anniversary, we thought we’d dip back into the past and recap some of our previous performances, triumphs and tragedies, in a series of posts. And don’t forget our Chronology! It’s not as detailed, but it really shows the growth of ARTC over the years. You can see all of the photos in their full size on our Flickr album!

Welcome to the first installment of photos from our performances of An Atlanta Christmas. 2014’s performance will mark the 15th consecutive year of this heartwarming show about Christmas in the south. Originally conceived by Thomas E. Fuller as a series of vignettes that focused specifically on Atlanta and the history of the holidays, the ARTC writers have expanded it to include many of our serials, including Rory Rammer, Space Marshal, Unresolved Mysteries: Solved While U Wait, and Bumpers Crossroads. We’ve got Thomas’s original vision on CD for you (or through our digital distributors) and the expanded edition will be coming out of ARTC Studio in due time.

More photos of these performances will be coming in this series as we go along. You can watch the kids grow up, just as we did!

The ARTC chorus warms up before the show.
The ARTC chorus warms up before the show.
Brad Weage plays a medly of holiday favorites.
Brad Weage plays a medly of holiday favorites.

Music is a huge part of the Christmas holiday tradition, and we work hard to integrate it into our performance each year. Alton Leonard composed the theme song for the set, Old Atlanta Christmas, and provides carols whenever he can. Brad Weage also brought the classics along with him every year. Combine that with our talented vocalists and it creates that warm holiday atmosphere that’s a trademark of this performance.

Our younger performers take the microphones.
Our younger performers take the microphones.

The original version of An Atlanta Christmas was framed by a family gathered around in the living room reminiscing about holidays long past. Finding talented children to play those roles, as well as the roles of the children in the individual stories, isn’t necessarily difficult. The hard part is keeping them from growing up and out of the roles! Each year the producers have to look at the kids from the previous years and determine if it’s time to replace them with the next crop of budding audio dramatists!

Everyone dresses in their holiday finery each year.
Everyone dresses in their holiday finery each year.
More folks dressed up for the holidays.
More folks dressed up for the holidays.

Dressing up for the holidays is always a festive part of the performance. We’ve tried several different things to make the visual part of our medium more interesting for our live performances, but for Christmas it’s never really that difficult. Everyone breaks out the reds and greens and we throw a great big holiday audio party on the stage!

The Foley team enters into the holiday spirit!
The Foley team enters into the holiday spirit!

Plush animals, Santa Claus hats, coonskin caps, and jingle bells traditionally adorn the Foley table. Our usual fare of horror and science fiction often has a mix of recorded and practical Foley sound effects. After all, how do you cast a space ship from the skies of Earth to the orbit of the moon with a table full of sound effects? Sure we could do it, but it adds to the immersive depth of our performance to mix in a recorded effect from time to time. But at Christmas there aren’t as many Martians, there are fewer Elder Gods, and that thing clattering on the roof isn’t a faceless monster, and so we’re able to put the focus on what traditionally sets audio drama apart from other art forms.

Clair Kiernan presents the traditional Christmas poinsettia.
Clair Kiernan presents the traditional Christmas poinsettia.

And what holiday would be complete without the poinsettia. Not sure why the poinsettia is significant? Come see this year’s performance of An Atlanta Christmas and we’ll be glad to tell you all about it. More details coming soon!

In the meantime, be sure to check out the rest of the photos from our Stone Mountain appearance of An Atlanta Christmas on Flickr. We’ll have another set of holiday photos in a few weeks!

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Blue Hanukchristmas Carol

Size: 6.93M, Duration: 15:08

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Welcome again to the ARTC Podcast! This month we bring you a piece we thought we had brought you a while back, but after going through the archives we discovered we’d overlooked it! This piece is so good that we couldn’t just let that slide, so here it is: Blue Hanukchristmas Carol by Sketch MacQuinor.

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Christmas Rose

Size: 7M Duration: 14:54

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Well, here we are.  The end of another year of podcasting for ARTC.  Ok, fine, we didn’t exactly podcast for the whole year, but the point is that we took some needed time off and came back with a better situation than we had before.  We’re looking forward to podcasting at least monthly and more often when we can.

This week we bring you Christmas Rose by Kelley S. Ceccato, performed live at the Academy Theatre in Avondale Estates, GA, on December 6 and 7, 2008.

This story is one of my personal favorites of Kelley’s.  She’s written lots of stuff for us and continues to improve in her craft and we are very lucky to have her.  We hope you enjoy it.

As we move into the New Year we at ARTC hope that all of you enjoy all of the magic that your imaginations can provide.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone and we’ll see you next year!

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An Atlanta Christmas part 7

Size: 6.7M Duration: 14:20

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Welcome everyone to the last Christmas podcast of the year.  We conclude the season with another very recent show, Sunday, December 23 to be exact.  And we are proud to bring you a segment of An Atlanta Christmas that has never been presented before.  “Civil War Triptych”, written by Thomas E. Fuller, follows the Christmas stories of three characters, each with an entirely different situation and take on the season.

Again, technical reasons prevented me from including the performer’s names in the audio, but they are Clair W. Kiernan, Veronica Byrd, and Jeff Montgomery.  Assisting with the song at the end are Dawn Marie and Sarah Taylor.  Special thanks to our performance coach, Doug Kaye.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our annual presentation of An Atlanta Christmas.  We look forward to doing it again next year.

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An Atlanta Christmas, Episode 5

Size: 11.4 MB Time: 25:00

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One last look at Christmas for the year…

Opening Music: An Old Atlanta Christmas, Alton Leonard.

USO Christmas, Thomas E. Fuller and performed by William Brown & Lou Brock.

Are You Lonely Tonight, written by Thomas E Fuller and Daniel Taylor, performed by Daniel & Clair Kiernan.

The Experts, by Ron N Butler featured the voices of Kelly Swilley, Lou Brock, and Daniel & Clair Kiernan. (Useless trivia: The Kiernans played characters with the same first names as those in Are You Lonely Tonight. But now they’re actually Mr. & Mrs. Zabrinski.) My apologies to Hal Wiedeman who went uncredited in the podcast: He played the towtruck driver.

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An Atlanta Christmas Episode 4

Size: 15M, Duration: 32:31

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Our annual gift to our listeners continues with more excerpts from An Atlanta Christmas.  This week we bring you three short pieces and another lovely song.  We hope you enjoy it.

The Santa Claus Blues, by Thomas E. Fuller
Rory Rammer, Space Marshal: A Visit From St. Rex, by Ron N. Butler
The Tree Comes to Atlanta, by Thomas E. Fuller
O Holy Night, performed by the ARTC Chorus

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An Atlanta Christmas Episode 3

Time: 27:36 Size: 18.9 MB

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Pour youself some of Collins’ Best Coffee (Christmas Blend) and stay tuned. Because this week’s podcast contains a special episode of Bumper’s Crosroads: Ernie the Christmas Snail – by Daniel Kiernan. This is followed by Davy Crockett and Me – written by Thomas E. Fuller. We have a musical portion of the show too: The Carol of the Birds. (traditional)

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An Atlanta Christmas episode 2

Time: 27:05 Size: 12.7M

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An Atlanta Christmas Episode 02

The Elves Strike Back.

<<Cue Music (Something ominous from John Williams that ARTC can’t possibly afford the rights to) – and then Under the Narrator>>

In addition to the plays of Thomas Fuller’s Atlanta Christmas, the writers of ARTC have produced a number of shorts which provide a comic counterpoint. Think of this as the lighter side of Christmas.

All of these pieces are surreal (as if the entire concept of Santa Claus and the Northpole Workshop isn’t). Some (all?) may be in questionable taste. One of these pieces will be performed in this years Christmas show program. There can be only one.

<<Cut Williams Theme; Cue Kazoos and Seal Horns for two bars of Holiday Music with Whoopee cushion finale and out for>>

You have been warned. <<Rory Rammer Echo effect>>

<< Cue ARTC theme – Something NPR-ish with strings and horns – and under for >>

This podcast includes the following pieces from our live performances at Stone Mountain and Parkview High School.

“Roger, the Jolly Little Christmas Elf” by Gerald W Page (2000)
“The Legend of the Poinsettia” by Brad Strickland (2004)
“Unresolved Mysteries Solved While U Wait – the Grinch” by Ron N. Butler (2000)
“Zen Santa Claus” by Tracy V Wilson (2005)

<<ARTC Theme Music Up and Out>>