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Singing Kernels entertain a packed house at OU Southern

Dec. 08, 2011 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The Mains Rotunda at Ohio University Southern was standing room only Saturday.

Performing their annual Christmas concert, the Singing Kernels entertained audience members with their Barbershop harmonized versions of traditional and a few nontraditional songs while OUS staff worked feverishly to provide more chairs. Singing four-part harmony, the Singing Kernels brought their own style of a cappella music for the Ironton crowd.

The audience enthusiastically responded as they laughed, clapped and even sang with the group throughout this second installment of the Lawrence County Concert Series, sponsored by the Ironton Council for the Arts.

The Singing Kernels are a local group founded 22 years ago in Ashland. They are a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Directed by Paul Hesson, a former member of Disney World's "Dapper Dans" and bass singer with the 1993 International College Quarter Champion, "Heritage Station" from Marshall University, the Singing Kernels are best known for their "Singing Valentines" throughout the Tri-State in addition to the Christmas concert. Hesson explained to the audience that the group usually performs this annual event at the Paramount Arts Center. However, when the ICA extended an invitation, "We were pleased to come here instead," he said.

The group paused its singing for Dr. Ken Stevens, a member of the group, to recite his own twist on the Christmas classic, "Night Before Christmas." This was followed up by the humorous carol, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." More humor was interjected later with a hilarious version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." The newer adaptation told the story of a man entering what he thought was the Men's room but it turned out to be a restroom with two nuns, three teachers and nurse. One other amusing song that filled the audience with mirth was "Jest 'fore Christmas." This song possessed lyrics from a young boy's perspective about how and why he has to be "good as I can be jest 'fore Christmas."

The concert took a serious turn when Hub Rose, singer and guitarist, performed, "I'll be Home for Christmas." Before singing this song, he asked the audience if they remembered the old "Bob Hope Specials."

"You know, he'd go out to the troops, wherever they were, and sing to them," he said. "But, you know what, our troops are coming home. So here is a song for them."

The concert ended with several traditional favorites including, "Santa Clause is Coming to Town," a "White Christmas" melody, "Silent Night" and "Jingle Bells." The group was thanked with a standing ovation.

The next concert in the LCCS will feature the local talent of Violauta Duo with vocalist Linda Dobbs. Information regarding the LCCS can be found on the website, www.southern.ohiou.edu/irontonarts or by emailing irontonarts.@hotmail.com.