Local Christmas Cheer Gets a Boost as Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis Comes To Tyler


The Cowan Center welcomes acclaimed Christmas music concert by Mannheim Steamroller as the UT Tyler venue continues its winning streak of bringing top acts to Tyler, Texas.

Concert at Cowan Center will Include Special Community Christmas Reception with Buffet 

Tyler Texas welcomes Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis 
For a large group of Americans, the term "Christmas music" conjures up images of the album covers of Mannheim Steamroller, which will will perform at UT Tyler's Cowan Center on December 9, 2015.

Mannheim Steamroller has the enviable distinction of having three of the top 7 Christmas albums in US history. Indeed, Christmas In The Aire, A Fresh Aire Christmas and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas have each sold more than 3.5 million copies. Needless to say, the hottest ticket of the Holiday Season in the Tyler-Longview area is the Mannheim Steamroller concert at the Cowan Center.

The group's unique name, Mannheim Steamroller, comes from an 18th century music technique, which is a passage of crescendo with a rising melodic line over a repeating bass motif. With sales of more than 28 million units in the US alone, the group has released music to international acclaim since 1975.

"There is no doubt that it is a hot show," said Susan Thomae-Morphew, executive director of the Cowan Center. "Ever since we announced the show in May, we knew it would be big."

According to Thomae-Morphew, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has toured in the Dallas area relatively frequently, but she said this concert is a probably a first for Tyler from the group. "We want to have shows that are a big deal," she said. "And, in their words, the show has promised a dazzling multimedia performance as well."

The Cowan Center helps promotes the arts at the University of Texas at Tyler.The Cowan Center, which is housed on the University of Texas at Tyler campus, is a spacious, state-of-the-art venue with ample seating that hosts numerous national and local programs to thousands of patrons annually. The Cowan Center has also consistently brought top-flight entertainment to Tyler-Longview, and the venue provides a more intimate setting for the Mannheim Steamroller show than the arenas where the act often performs in America's largest cities. "We are a little over 2,000 seats," Thomae-Morphew said. "We have a great venue to do a great show."

The Cowan Center's executive director said that having top touring shows come to Tyler helps attract other big-name events to the venue. "Every performance we have with national acts builds our brand and image," she said. "Other acts will definitely look at our history, so our success in hosting major acts is important for future shows."

However, the Cowan Center is very selective about the shows it chooses as the center moves into its 19th season. The executive director said community input is so important that they conduct audience surveys at three shows every year. "These audience surveys are very important, because we want to hear from the people who attend our shows," Thomae-Morphew said. "We are also considering doing some surveys on our website too."

Student input at the University of Texas at Tyler is also important to the Cowan Center when booking shows. Morphew-Thomae said the Cowan Center has a community advisory board that gives input for shows being potentially booked, and she said that the Student Government Association (SGA) is asked to send student representatives to attend these meetings. "We have always taken input from students and reached out to SGA," Thomae-Morphew said. "The advisory board is viewed as a connection to the community. Because if you are just bringing what one person wants, then you are not responding to the community."

But community information is not always easy to ascertain for certain acts, and that is when professional judgment has to be used in deciding which acts come to the Cowan Center - especially when there is no real way to measure community interest for a particular artist or show. "The first time I brought Lyle Lovett to the Cowan Center, I did not know if there was a Lyle Lovett fan base," Susan Thomae-Morphew said. "I made a decision to bring him based on his track record, and it was a success with 1,700 tickets sold. It is trial and error many times when a show or artist has never been in the area."

Christmas events are a particular favorite of the Cowan Center's executive director. "We have a great track record with Christmas shows," she said. "The community really embraces them, and they are so much fun for everyone. Plus, we get a great turnout."

Last year's Christmas show at the Cowan Center featured Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis, and the center invited the audience to a complimentary, community Christmas reception. "We had a beautiful reception last year," Thomae-Morphew said. "It was so much fun. Plus, there was a long line for the yummy buffet."

The community Christmas reception will be staged this year in conjunction with the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert, and Thomae-Morphew said the center is even using the same caterer after the success of last year's festive food. "It's all about bringing family and fun." she added. "The Mannheim Steamroller event is one to look forward to and tickets will be gone fast. Don't wait to buy them."

The Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis concert at the Cowan Center will feature updated interpretations of well-known holiday music, presented with a "dramatic lightshow." The live program contains a mix of secular and sacred pieces, and the event is sponsored by Dermatology Associates of Tyler.

Mannheim Steamroller first attracted notice with its popular Fresh Aire series, which blends classical music with progressive rock music. Music critics lauded the group for literally breathing "fresh air" into the classical genre. Mannheim Steamroller is equally famous for its recordings of contemporary approaches to traditional Christmas classics.

Indeed, a recent feature in Forbes said: "For many people, it’s not officially Christmas season until they hear Mannheim Steamroller’s version of 'Deck The Halls." The group has also had success in other genres. A little known fact is that Mannheim Steamroller founder and Grammy award winner Chip Davis co-wrote the hit 1975 novelty song "Convoy," by C.W. McCall, which reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Country charts. Ark-La-Tex.com

  • [tab]
    • When:
      • Wednesday, December 9, 2015 7:30 PM
    • Where:
      • University of Texas @ Tyler - Cowan Center
    • Tickets:
      • Tickets are $37.00 - $67.00 and are on sale now

[Preview the Cowan Center at UT Tyler now ##eye##]


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Ark-La-Tex.com News: Local Christmas Cheer Gets a Boost as Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis Comes To Tyler
Local Christmas Cheer Gets a Boost as Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis Comes To Tyler
The Cowan Center welcomes acclaimed Christmas music concert by Mannheim Steamroller as the UT Tyler venue continues its winning streak of bringing top acts to Tyler, Texas.
Ark-La-Tex.com News
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