CAROLING IN THE CAVERNS
'CHRISTMAS TIME'S A-COMIN'
Blanchard Springs, near Mountain View, AR
December 10, 2016
|Santa Claus stops by Pinewood Cabins, Mountain View, AR|
WE ARE EXCITED! Christmas is almost here and we've hardly begun to shop, but we know when to get busy and begin contacting the Mountain View (AR) Area Chamber of Commerce about tickets to CAROLING IN THE CAVERNS. From past wonderful experiences, we contact the Chamber, select a weekend with a performance time slot that we prefer, and we anxiously await our tickets to Caroling. It's just the best feeling!
Our tickets arrive, we grab our friends, and we're off to Mountain View, Arkansas, and a fine weekend of fellowship, beautiful music in an incredible cave setting that's lighted for the season, and some fine, tasty vittles before we leave the mountain. It's a Christmas gift unto itself!
We take the elevator down 216 feet in the Blanchard Caverns Visitors Center to the lovely room filled with Mother Nature and Father Time's stalactites and stalagmites.
Rangers and volunteers with flashlights assist us with our journey, even providing cushions for us to use when sitting in our bleacher seats. We settle in and music begins in the semi-darkness. Carolers descend the stairs near our bleachers, singing as they go. It's pretty dark in there, but this group is a bunch of professionals. They've walked and sung in the darkness many times. They reach their destination in front of the bleachers, and they begin their program.
The carolers are: IRL HEES (bass and vocals), PAM SETSER (guitar, mountain dulcimer, spoons, and vocals), ROBERT GILLIHAN (mandolin and vocals), MARY GILLIHAN (comedic schtick that we love and vocals), RON HAYNES (guitar and vocals), and ABBY SPINKS (vocals). The musicians are all the finest local performers that one would hope to find. They love what they do, and it's obvious!
L to R: Irl Hees, Ron Haynes, Mary Gillihan, Pam Setser,
Robert Gillihan, and Abby Spinks
wishing concert-goers a Merry Christmas
We like to include the program of music, and here it is: Angels We Have Heard on High; Beautiful Star of Bethlehem; Do You Hear What I Hear; There's a New Kid in Town; I Wonder as I Wander / Little Drummer Boy; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Robert Gillihan's reading, "Seek and You Will Find"; Away in a Manger; Mary, Did You Know; There He Is; Christmas Time's A-Comin'; Winter Wonderland; Let It Snow; Deck the Halls; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; Cowboy Poetry; Ozark Twelve Days of Christmas; Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer; I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas; Go Tell It on the Mountain; Silent Night; and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
As we depart the Visitors Center, we are asked to walk across a shallow, squishy pad of water, Woolite (r), and another ingredient. The procedure is brief, painless, and not damaging to shoes or feet. The area is trying to control white-nose syndrome in cave bats. The syndrome is deadly to bat populations, and the staff at Blanchard Caverns hopes to control the spread of the disease.
Following the concert, we make our way back down Arkansas Highway 14 to a world-class catfish dinner at JoJo's Catfish Wharf. We turn in for the night at a local inn, thinking about the wonderful day we just had. After a good night's rest, we must hit the Rainbow Café on the town square for a fine breakfast before heading home. We never tire of the little ritual and we are already looking forward to Caroling in the Caverns 2017.
Special Thanks: The musicians, Dale at the Visitors Center for his assistance, and Jim for the photo of the musicians.
For more information:
Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce: Phone (Tickets/Info) 870.269.8068 or
Toll Free: 888.679.2859
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!