The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 28, 2013

Now Hear This: Thursday, Feb. 28

By Wayne Laepple
For The Daily Item

— Tonight the Bucknell Theater is doing a reading and playing of orchestrated music of “Santa’s Last Christmas,” written by

Joe Gaughan, former keyboard player with Alison Wonderband who now keys for the BeeGeezers, and the late Ed Rhoades and Heather (Hanley) Rhoades, Ed’s daughter. It took them five years to complete.

“The original concept was to create an original CD of Christmas music with unique themes such as a song about Mrs. Santa or a song about there being more than one Christmas Day or a song about changing a bad behaved child to a good one,” said Gaughan. “After a while, as it grew, so did the idea of creating a musical out of individual entities. Thus began ‘Santa’s Last Christmas.’

“The story gives Santa  human emotion elements and also gives what he does the stigma of it being a job which as we all know has stress and good and bad parts to it. It also adds things such as Santa needing or wanting a vacation or wanting to retire or Santa giving bad kids a second chance to be good. The musical is very much a whole family orientated play.”

Gaughan hopes an area high school or professional theater group might be interested in performing the show, perhaps closer to the Christmas holidays.

“Most all of the music was recorded MIDI which in plain English means two things. If a school or theater group doesn’t have musicians to play the score they can use my recorded orchestrated tracks — sort of like karaoke,” Gaughan said. “And the second thing is they can change the key of the song to make it fit better to the vocal ranges of the person singing that song.”

The reading takes place at 5 p.m. tonight at Harvey Powers Theater on the Bucknell University campus, Lewisburg. Refreshments will be provided.