Arcola Optimists welcome Nashville duo 'The Jeffersons' for Country Christmas concerts

            Now that Arcola's historic MacMurray Theatre is almost completely restored, the Arcola Optimist Club is hosting the community's first-ever Country Christmas concert, starring Nashville recording artists, The Jeffersons. The duo is made up of Canadian country star Lisa Brokop and her husband, singer-songwriter, Paul Jefferson, who will be performing in Arcola at The Mac on Friday, Dec. 4 and Saturday, Dec. 5.

            Glen Lawson of the Arcola Optimists says, “We've got a little bit more to do on the outside of the theatre and the last major thing is the siding. We've got a few things to do on the inside, but we're excited to bring A Country Christmas to The Mac.”

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            Billed as one of Music Row's “most exciting and creative new acts,” The Jeffersons have released a self-titled album as well as an EP of Christmas standards.

            Brokop grew up in Surrey, B.C., and says, “All I wanted to do from the time I was seven or eight years old was to go to Nashville and be a country singing star.”

            By 1995, she was signed to Garth Brooks's label Capitol Nashville and released her album 'Every Little Girl's Dream.'

            Eventually, she recorded with record labels Columbia Nashville and later with Curb Records Nashville; and in spite of these career upheavals, Brokop remains grateful. “Fortunately, I've been able to stay here in Nashville and go back to Canada to record and tour. It's allowed me to pay the bills and have a wonderful fan base.”

            Brokop has won Independent Female Artist of the Year as well as Independent Song of the year at the Canadian Country Music Awards for co-writing and recording her hit 'Something Undeniable.'

            Jefferson, a San Francisco native, made his way to Music City after attending the University of California at Berkeley, where he graudated with a degree in bio-engineering and also earned a commercial pilot's licence. The undefeated tennis champ-who attended college via a tennis scholarship-saw his sports career end when he suffered an accident with a table saw.

            “I cut my finger off with a table saw,” he says. Even though his hand was surgically repaired, Jefferson says his tennis game “was never the same,” and the son of a guitar teacher rekindled his passion for music, eventually portraying Hank Williams in the play, 'Lonesome Highway.'

            “I spent years listening to Hank's voice,” he says.

            Jefferson signed with A&M records in Nashville and also writes songs for other artists, among them, 'That's as Close as I'll Get to Loving You' which became a hot for singer Aaron Tippin.

             Lawson says the couple's upcoming dates in Arcola are part of the Arcola Optimist's continuing efforts to support community causes by bringing quality entertainment to this corner of the province.

            “We want to bring all kinds of entertainment to the area,” he says. “We're talking about possibly doing another concert in April. And in addition to bringing kids' movies to The Mac, we're bringing in more mainstream movies for adults. If a film's been in wide release for two weeks, we can get it.”

            “We've been really fortunate.” adds Lawson. “We've spent some time and money on the theatre and it's really paid off.”

            “As long as people come out and support these events, we'll keep doing them.”

            A Country Christmas by The Jeffersons is at Arcola's MacMurray Theatre Friday, Dec.4 and Saturday, Dec. 5, with performances at 8 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $20 each and are available in Arcola at the Arcola Pharmacy or at Chapman's Grocery or in Carlyle at Michael's Coffee Shop and Bakery. Tickets can also be purchased from any Optimist Club member or by calling Blake at 577-9904 or Glen at 577-3250.

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