Alese & Morton Pechter
We have found the perfect gift for you, for your family and friends.
A brand new CD of this amazing musical, King Island Christmas,
is available now!
"We'll tell you a story, a Christmas story. It's our Christmas
present to you. We've wrapped it in music instead of paper and
we're here to sing it through. Its called King Island Christmas
and every word is true. It's a story of people who stick together
and what those people can do."
Usually our writings are about travel and fun things to do ...
in Florida and around the globe but this time we are going to tell
you about traveling you can do with your whole family, right in
your own home from the comfort of your best easy chair. Picture
this, an icy mountain on a little island in the Bering Sea off Alaska.
Remember that children's story you loved to hear and have told to
your children so many times? ... The Little Engine that Could?
Well, this is a story about the people of this island having to
climb that icy mountain....and it is a true story! Wait till you
hear this music! The whole story is told in the lyrics of the songs.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
we had the privilege of seeing a showcase performance of this new
musical show, King Island Christmas. It was done so simply,
with just a piano, a group of singers on stage, with their music
stands, rendering the lyrics and music. Sitting in the audience,
our emotions ran the gamut. We left the theater with such positive
feelings about a great new show, which we know will be a new holiday
classic like The Nutcracker and Amahl ... about life
in general ... people working together ... that a community of people
and thoughts ... can make things happen.
Based on a true story, King Island Christmas is seventy
minutes of wonderful, memorable, singable music that tells the story
of ... the little island that could! Winter is closing in on King
Island, a remote island off Alaska in the Bering Sea, and soon the
villagers will be cut off from the rest of the world by the ice
that makes travel to and from the island impossible for many months.
The villagers anxiously await the arrival of the North Star,
the ship that brings both crucial provisions and their beloved priest,
Father Carroll to King Island. A sudden Arctic storm comes up and
the sea quickly begins to freeze. Because the ice has already come
to their side of the island, the villagers are unable to get out
to the supply ship. The community works together to carry a large
oomiak ... a swift, canoe-like boat made with walrus skin
... over the treacherous mountain that divides the island. On the
leeward side of the island the sea is calmer and the islanders are
able to bring their supplies and Father Carroll to shore in time
to celebrate Christmas.
Deborah Baley Brevoort, the librettist, is an award winning playwright
who lived in Alaska
for 15 years and served as the Producing Director of the Perseverance
Theater in Juneau. She found the story in a children's book and
fell in love with it. Said Debbie, "...the story captured the essence
of what I love most about Alaska: that one's community life is critical.
In Alaska, the weather and geography are so formidable that belonging
to a community is necessary for survival. You learn quickly that
you must stick together for survival."
The fantastic music for this was written by David Friedman who
has a long history with Disney musicals as a conductor/composer
and vocal arranger. He has set the story in the form of an oratorio
... which is basically having a chorus tell and dramatize the story.
All kinds of song forms are included: chant, calypso, gospel spiritual,
pop anthem and folk song. It was written specifically so it could
be performed not only by professional theater companies but by everyone.
The local glee club, a church choir, community theaters, the high
school symphony ... in any community around the world. And everyone
gets to sing ... the children, women and men each have separate
The American Library Association had a special performance at
its Midwinter Conference. Ann Symons, president of the ALA, commented
afterward, " Everywhere I went for the next three days, people stopped
me to tell me how much they loved seeing King Island Christmas
... and most of these same people also told me how moved they were
and that they had cried. The adjectives just came pouring forth
... fabulous, incredible, beautiful voices, the message of working
together. ... the melodies and words still linger and just gain
a foothold in soul every time I play the tape."
Our own reaction was similar. We bought two CD's for ourselves
... one for home and one for our car ... and play it constantly.
We understand it is also available on tape. For us, it is like listening
to one of those old radio shows. The stage sets, and lighting and
movement were all in our minds and imaginations ... and that can
be so much more powerful than a picture that is put in front of
our eyes on TV or in movie theaters.
The actual recording has been produced by the tops in the professional
world. It's producer, Thomas Shepard is a 12-time Grammy winner
and the most famous producer of show albums in the world. He is
best known for the cast recordings of Stephen Sondheim's musicals.
The orchestrator, Peter Matz, is an Emmy and Grammy award-winner,
worked extensively on Broadway and is probably best known for his
work with Barbra Streisand and the Carol Burnett Show. The conductor
is David Friedman, the composer.
What a team to put together! Then add in the people with the magnificent
voices ... Chuck Cooper, the 1997 Tony winner for The Life;
Marin Mazzie, star of Passion and Ragtime who is opening
on Broadway in the title role of Kiss Me Kate. Mix into that
the Prince Charming in Whitney Houston's TV production of Cinderella
and one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People ... Paolo
Montalban! And there are more ... Frank D'Ambrosio played the Phantom
for six years in the national tour of Phantom of the Opera;
J.K. Simmons has been seen on television as the leading character
in Oz and as a regular on Law and Order; Jonathan
Bleicher is now appearing in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast
and the little oomiak song is delivered by Bonnie Gleicher who was
one of leads in the national tour of Annie... All these exciting,
vibrant, melodious voices joining together to make this ensemble
come to life.
you tell we are excited about this CD? All we did was take some
photos for them, but we became so head-over-heals enamored with
the music, the story, the lessons it tells that we just have to
let the world know it is out there. Lee Moskof, one of the producers
stated, " Everyone's very charmed by it all. The story is universal,
albeit specific. Everyone can relate to the idea of challenge, and
community, and the joy of sharing an accomplishment together ..
all the good messages."
Friedman, the conductor of the recording stated, " the experience
was magical from beginning to end. King Island is like Camelot:
it's as much a state of mind as it is a place. Once you've heard
it, you will never feel the same about your home, your family, your
town again. It's that powerful."
We guess we are not alone in our belief in this CD as we have recently
heard that The Voice of America and Armed Forces Radio will be broadcasting
the entire album as a Christmas special that will be heard around
the world. In addition, The Kennedy Center in Washington will have
a special performance during the holiday season.
We have become ardent believers. We find ourselves referring to
friends as "King Island" kind of people ... those that give the
gifts of love, friendship and support. Those selected to record
this music are themselves, King Islandish and were really
able to communicate this in the recording. This album is absolutely
glorious. Is it obvious that we love it? And we know you will love
it too! Don't forget to give yourself the gift of King Island
King Island Christmas
CD or Cassette: 70 minutes of music
Libretto:Deborah Baley Brevoort ... award winning playwright
Music/Conductor: David Friedman .. composer Disney Productions
Producer: Thomas Z. Shepard .. 12 time Grammy winner
Orchestrator: Peter Matz ... Emmy & Grammy award winner
Producers: The King Island Company, New York
Cost: CD .. $17.99 suggested retail
$12.99 suggested retail
Can be obtained from online music retailers: i.e. Barnes&Noble
Or Phone: 1-800-719-9566
Audio Clips from the album:
We'll Tell you a Story
The Gift of Trouble
The Song of the Oomiak
Over the Mountain
There's a North Star in the Sky
Agoodik, Muktuk, Salmon & Seal