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Charles Jenkins celebrates Christmas on Bounce TV’s “Holiday Praise”

Charles Jenkins

Soul Train Award nominated and Stellar Gospel Music Award winning recording artist Charles Jenkins’ “Holiday Praise” yuletide musical program will air at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, Dec. 25 and a repeat broadcast at 9 a.m. on Bounce TV. Check your local TV listings for this program.

The hour-long holiday celebration was filmed at the historic Fellowship Chicago church, featuring an all-star musical lineup. The exhilarating concert features performances by Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell singing “Come Let Us Adore Him” and Grammy Award nominated singer Brian Courtney Wilson reinventing Donny Hathaway’s classic “This Christmas.” Deitrick Haddon delivers a passionate take on Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song.” Jonathan McReynolds does a resplendent acoustic cover of “Mary Don’t You Weep” while gospel legend Dorinda Clark Cole sings “Away in a Manger” to a circle of children. The show also features appearances by Tasha Page Lockhart, Isaac Carree, Donishia Ballard, and Dexter Walker & Zion Movement.

Jenkins, who is the pastor of the 8,000-member Fellowship Chicago, initially appeared on the national stage when the world-renowned song “Awesome” topped Billboard Magazine’s Hot Gospel Songs chart for 22 weeks in 2012.  The unforgettable “War” spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart and was cited by the magazine as the most played gospel song of 2015. Jenkins currently has a Top 10 hit with “Winning,” and his tune “Christmas Music” just made its Hot Gospel Songs chart debut at No. 21.

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Mitch’s Travel: Santa Claus kicks off Christmas season Nov. 19 in Finland

santa_claus1According to a recent news release, Santa Claus will give his much-awaited speech in the annual Christmas opening in his official hometown Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland on November 19. Fans can join the festivities directly from their own sofa.

Christmas opening festivities traditionally start the Christmas season in Finland. Held in Santa’s official hometown Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle, the celebration gathers people from around the world to live the magic of Christmas.

The festivities start with a Christmas carol concert. Jingle bells jingle and elves gambol around when it’s time for the beloved Santa Claus to step on stage and hold his annual speech. Elves have whispered that this year Santa would speak about children’s rights and the meaning of charity. The speech and warm atmosphere will surely get everyone into the spirit of Christmas.

As Santa cannot fly everyone to Lapland to celebrate this special time of the year with him, he has arranged a possibility for fans to take part in the festivities online. A live broadcast from Arctic Circle starts at 3:30 p.m. Finnish time (UTC +2) on the Visit Rovaniemi Facebook-site  or Livestream.

Christmas opening launches an all-time winter season in Finnish Lapland

Rovaniemi enjoys exceptional popularity as a winter destination due to its fascinating nature and magical atmosphere. Even more people get to experience it this year, thanks to frequent charter flights and new direct flights from Berlin, London and Zurich. Co-operation with international operators such as Chinese Alitrip has been a significant move in terms of Asian market.

The provision of accommodation services in Rovaniemi is increasingly attractive due to the launch of new resorts such as Arctic Tree House Hotel, Santas Igloos Arctic Circle and Santa Claus Holiday Village extension. You can also find more exciting things to do, as new activities such as Aurora floating, Aurora flights, and nature watching tours have been added to the list of services. A truly breathtaking innovation is a cruise on a world’s biggest travel icebreaker on the Swedish side of the border.

The beloved Santa Claus can be visited every day of the year in Santa Claus Village, Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi.

Gospel’s balladeer Earnest Pugh to release his first Christmas CD

Over the last half dozen years, Earnest Pugh has established himself as Gospel Music’s Leading Man with soul stirring, #1 radio smashes such as “Rain on Us” and “I Need Your Glory” that also hit the Adult R&B Airplay charts. Now, he’s joining the ranks of Johnny Mathis, Mahalia Jackson and Nat “King” Cole by creating a holiday album, “Christmas with Earnest Pugh & Friends” (EPM Music Group/$15.98 MSRP), due in stores on Oct. 16 that is sure to become an annual yuletide listening treat.

The 14-track set marks Pugh’s first time sitting in the producer’s chair and he shares the mic with some of his best and most talented friends in the music biz. The initial radio single, “Ring Dem Bells”, a rousing mid-tempo ballad features impassioned backing vocals by Charles Butler & Trinity. A soulful “Silent Night” features the smooth tenor of Quadrius Salters. Baritone Keith Williams joins Pugh on “Holy 2 U” while powerhouse soprano Chrystal Rucker does a majestic rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with a simple piano arrangement. Lisa Knowles of the Brown Sisters and Pugh trade adlibs on a churchy rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Vincent Tharpe & Kenois create a warm and cozy groove on “Go Tell It” while newcomer Martha Buries brings a jazzy vibe to Ann McCrary’s “Remember Not 2 Forget”. Veteran vocalist Nikki Ross sits us down on the front pew of a Sunday morning church service to deliver a dramatic version of  “Walk in the Light”.

Christmas music has always been a staple In Pugh’s home.

“With very little money and 12 kids – music was all we had when I was growing up,” he says in a news release. “Our household was filled with love, music and good food during the holidays. This CD is near and dear to my heart because it was one of the final requests that my mother made just prior to passing away on New Year’s Eve 2006, that I make a Christmas CD. The concept of the CD catches me interacting with some kids during a choir rehearsal to prepare them to go caroling throughout the neighborhood.”

There are plans in the works for a 10-city Christmas with Earnest Pugh Tour that would also feature EPM Music Group artists such as Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis, Chrystal Rucker and Keith Williams. For more info on EPM and its various projects, go to www.epmmusicgroup.com.