Better Homes and Gardens Magazine Christmas giveaway Purex sweepstakes

Mitch’s Deal: Enter to win 1 of 20,000 FREE subscriptions to Better Homes & Gardens

Purex is offering a new giveaway! Click here to enter to win one of 20,000 FREE subscriptions to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine! You’ve got until December 20, 2011, to enter.  Best of luck!
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Update: Christmas program featuring Committed cancelled in Oklahoma City

The Christmas program featuring Sony Recording artist group Committed scheduled to take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, at the Metropolitan Library System’s Ralph Ellison branch in Oklahoma City has been cancelled due to the cancellation of the “Have a Mary Mary Christmas Tour.” For more information, call Black Liberated Arts Center Inc. at (405) 524-3800.

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Mary Mary cancels Dec. 11 Christmas show in Oklahoma City

In a recent news release, Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. in Oklahoma City announced that the “Have a Mary Mary Christmas Tour” show scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, at Frederick A. Douglass auditorium, had been cancelled due to medical concerns surrounding the pregnancy of Erica Campbell, who is due for delivery in February.  The announcement is also posted on Mary Mary’s website (

The announcement issued by Mary Mary to BLAC Inc. indicated that the gospel duo had been on an unprecedented run of award shows, nomination, non-stop travel for holiday performances and a television series taping was forced to cancel their much anticipated first ever “Have a Mary Mary Christmas Tour” as Erica’s due date was approaching.

Anita Arnold, executive director of BLAC Inc., said that buyers of Mary Mary tickets should take their tickets to the place where they were purchased to claim their refund.  Online purchases, mail and telephone credit card purchases will be refunded through BLAC, Inc.  For more information, call (405) 524-3800 to obtain specific instructions on refunds.

BLAC Inc. extends thanks to everyone, especially, Saraa Kami, who worked hard to bring this show of excellence to the community.  An announcement of BLAC Inc.’s full season of performing arts will be made in early 2012.
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Veteran soul singer Shirley Murdock stars in “I’ll be Home for Christmas” in December

Over the last two decades, veteran soul and gospel vocalist Shirley Murdock has dreamed up a new career as an actress in the new holiday musical entitled, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Murdock co-stars with R&B veteran Freddie Jackson in the comedy that also features Lisa Page Brooks and Sam Logan. In it, Murdock portrays a feisty pastor’s wife who keeps order in her husband’s church and has her eye on her son being paroled from prison right before Christmas. The musical will be staged at the Newark Symphony Hall (Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall), 1020 Broad Street in Newark, NJ, at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16 and Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. For more information, call  (973) 643-8014.  All tickets are $38.32. On Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, at 3:30 p.m., the show will make its debut at the famed Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street in New York. Tickets range from $55 to $90. For more information, call (800) 745-3000 or go to

Meanwhile, Murdock’s current radio single “Dream” is in the Top 30 of Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart. It’s one of a dozen musical chestnuts that Murdock either wrote or co-wrote for her first ever live concert CD “The Journey” (Tyscot Records) that features cameos by R&B divas Kelly Price, Regina Belle and gospel powerhouse Beverly Crawford.  This will be Murdock’s second gospel project with Tyscot Records. Her 2007 label debut, Soul Food, included the chart hit “I Love Me Better Than That.” For more information on Murdock, go to or to her Facebook page at

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Pianist Geri Allen shares a collection of music on new CD “A Child is Born”

Despite its time-honored traditions and universally familiar iconography, Christmas remains a holiday celebrated by each family and even each individual in their own personal style. Pianist/composer Geri Allen offers her own interpretation with A Child Is Born, a collection of traditional and original Christmas music that is profound and exuberant, solemn and joyous, spiritual and intimate.

Allen’s third release for Motéma Music is a solo sequel to her critically acclaimed solo debut, 2010’s Flying Toward the Sound. Where that release paid tribute to three of her creative inspirations – Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Cecil Taylor – A Child Is Born honors equally meaningful but perhaps even more deeply entrenched influences: family and spirituality. She refers to the album as “a joyous Christmas celebration and remembrance of a childhood where love was always unconditional.”
Geri Allen
This holiday offering finds Allen at a particularly celebratory time of life. Her tandem 2010 releases on Motéma, the solo, Flying Toward the Sound, and the quartet, Timeline Live, have shown her to be at the top of her game, gaining unanimous acclaim internationally and jostling with each other for space on numerous year-end top ten lists. A 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship helped Allen facilitate her debut solo project on Motéma; and Timeline Live, which features the startlingly talented Maurice Chestnut on ‘tap-percussion,’ has been selling out houses world wide and garnered a career first for Allen: an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Jazz Album, alongside Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, and Bobby McFerrin. National respect for Allen as a virtuosic, innovative performer, composer, and educator (she is currently an Associate Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan) is undeniable, as evidenced by two powerful recent honors of 2011. She was invited to perform in honor of the historic Dr. Martin Luther King Monument Unveiling this August in Washington D.C.
A Child Is Born is dedicated to Allen’s family, in particular to her father, Mount Allen, Jr. and mother, Barbara Jean Allen. 
“I am privileged and blessed to have grown up as the child of Barbara Jean and Mount Vernell Allen, Jr.,” she says in a recent news release. “I know God loved me because He gave them to my brother Mount and I. Memories of many loving Christmases with family remain as affirmations of the beauty of life and God’s never-ending love. Today, I share these timeless melodies and personal remembrances with my own children.”
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Mitch’s Reflection: “Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball” by Donita K. Paul

Just in time for the holidays, author Donita K. Paul weaves a brilliant tale of family, relationships, romance and religion all into one for an unlikely couple in Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball: A Novella Searching for a perfect gift leads Cora Crowder to an unusual bookshop on Sage Street, where she meets bookshop owners Bill and William Wizbotterdad. The owners not only direct Crowder to finding perfect gifts for her unruly family members, but Cora Crowder also encounters co-worker Simon Derrick. Derrick is not only Crowder’s boss, but his distant manner makes her hesitant to approach him. But the unlikely bonus of special tickets to a Christmas Ball from the Warner, Werner and Wizbotterdad’s bookshop leads Crowder and Derrick down an unusual path. The storyline is easy to follow, and the reader will chuckle or frown along the way. “Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball” is so heartwarming and inviting that the book could be finished in a day! With just the right elements, Paul makes it possible for anyone “to dream of a true love beyond imagination.”

Editor’s Note: A copy of this book was provided by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Rate this review here:

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Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir hosts dinner/concert for homeless on Dec. 18, 2010

According to a recent news release, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir will sponsor a holiday celebration for more than 1,500 homeless people at 3 p.m. Dec 18, 2010, at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, 17 Smith St. in Brooklyn, NY. The church that the choir is named for will rent buses and bring hundreds of men, women and children from eight different New York-area shelters to the historic church for a hot meal, a gift bag of toiletries, and a special performance of the choir‘s annual Christmas concert.
“We’re in the inner-city,” choir founder/director Carol Cymbala says of the church’s year-round outreach activities like their February benefit that raised $80,000 for Haitian relief efforts. “A lot of the people come from deprived neighborhoods. When they come in the church, it’s an oasis. It brings joy to their hearts. I think of that when we decorate the church for Christmas. The Word of God says we should reach out to the poor. When we go to prisons, Jesus is there to meet us. The poor are very special. We do a special Christmas production just for the people in the shelters and pack this place out with the homeless and they just love it.”
This year’s concert will feature songs from the choir‘s new CD, “A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas” (Integrity Music). The project consists of several tracks ranging from elegant Nelson Riddle-styled tunes such as “It’s Christmas Once Again” to festive pop tunes like “Amazing Love.”
The 300-voice troupe was founded by Cymbala (wife of The BrooklyTabernacle Choir‘s Senior Pastor Jim Cymbala and daughter of the church founder, the late Rev. Clair Hutchins) with eight members in 1973. The ensemble is a blend of ethnic and economic backgrounds, with members ranging from lawyers and doctors to ex-drug addicts.  Over the years, the choir has performed at major venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden.  The ensemble has backed gospel artists such as CeCe Winans and Michael W. Smith. The choir’s musical legacy includes six Grammy Awards, seven Dove Awards, two #1 Billboard charting CDs and sold more than four million albums.

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Oral Roberts University presents “Christmas Joys” in December 2010

Oral Roberts University presents “Christmas Joys” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 2010, at the ORU Mabee Center, 81st Street and South Lewis Avenue in Tulsa, OK.
“Christmas Joys” is a musical celebration featuring ORU combined choirs and orchestra, Victory Christian School Children’s Choir, Andrew “The Whistler” Parker, the ORU Singers, Souls A’Fire and the Ladies and Gentlemen of Jazz. According to a news release, a Children’s Open House will take place before the concert with games, hands-on activities and refreshments from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.
Admission to the concert is an unwrapped toy. All donations will be distributed to families in the Tulsa community through the Salvation Army. For more information, call (918) 495-6591.

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Clark Theatre presents “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is presented at 2 p.m. Dec. 6 and 13, and 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday and Dec. 9-12 at Clark Youth Theatre, 11440 E Admiral Place, Tulsa. Kathryn Hartney is the director.

This Christmas tale makes its 23rd annual appearance at Clark Theatre. “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” chronicles the story of the Herdmans, who are the worst kids in school. One Sunday, the Herdsmas come to church to take advantage of the free snacks the minister gives out, and it happens to be the same day for the annual church Christmas Pageant tryouts. After peer intimidation, the Herdmans were cast in lead roles. Disaster looms, but so does the possibility of learning the true meaning of Christmas.
For ticket information, call (918) 669-6455 or go to