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The Haygoods Celebrating 30 Years Of Family Entertainment In Branson, Missouri

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The Haygoods Celebrating 30 Years Of Family Entertainment In Branson, Missouri

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The Haygoods  Celebrating 30 Years Of Family Entertainment In Branson, Missouri
The Haygoods  Celebrating 30 Years Of Family Entertainment In Branson, Missouri

His program is not in vain considered the most popular program in Branson. From the moment this family band of five brothers takes the stage, high-quality, dynamic, uninterrupted family music has been happy to entertain everyone from the age of five to 95.

Whether it's Michael Haygood sliding face down off the roof and playing his guitar, or a band performing a well choreographed song with LED lights and special effects, showcasing their multi-instrumental talents, or showcasing their ever-changing roles. Every Haygood show is full of surprises with versions of old favorites. That's why they fill the theater with sold out tickets all year round.

“We really like it,” said Katherine Haygood. “Every time we go on stage it's always a new crowd, a new vibe, no show is the same. We love to discover something new for ourselves so that people come back to us again. They know they will see innovative lighting effects, costumes and performances.”

Michael is the mastermind behind the special effects and LED lighting that make the show so beautiful. Among his many accomplishments, he builds his own jetpack with LED lights and sometimes uses it to fly over the audience. He is also known to enter the cinema from the roof, shocking the audience below.

“What’s really fun for me is to see people’s faces from my point of view, to blend into the crowd, and gradually they begin to notice that I’m flying over their heads, playing the guitar and smiling. It's very interesting," he says.

In a city known as the "Live Entertainment Capital of the World" (due to Branson's many live and stage performances), Haygood's has one of the most fast-paced and well-staged shows on the Strip.

The play is enjoyable to watch, but what makes it even more interesting is the story of the Haygood family and how they got to where they are today. They're celebrating 30 years as a family of artists in Branson, but their story begins much earlier, in the forests of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.

"When we tell people our story, a lot of people say, 'Come on, it's just a showbiz story,'" said Timothy Haygood, "but the truth is, we all lived in the same wide trailer and our dad was a carpenter." … She is very strict. He works hard, but it is difficult to feed eight children.”

“It was hard,” recalls Patrick Haygood. “We always have food on the table, the house is always clean and we are always tidy, but all our clothes are worn, our shoes are glued and sometimes very hard.”

As the family struggles to make ends meet, fate intervenes to pave the way for the children's musical future when Timothy is inspired by something he saw on TV in 1983.

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“I became interested in violin lessons or violin lessons at the age of five,” he recalls, “ after seeing a famous violinist named Itzhak Perlman on Sesame Street. And I went to our mother and said: "Mom, I want to be like her." It was an embarrassing moment that set everything in motion."

His mother did not immediately teach him this lesson, but when Timothy insisted, and she knew that he was serious, she obeyed. And when he saw how violin lessons helped his eldest son focus, discipline and learn, he made sure that other children also took violin lessons.

His first acting breakthrough came when young Haygood was invited to play at a local festival. They soon traveled to fairs and weekend festivals across the southern United States. Then his father saw a 60-minute feature about a successful country artist opening a theater in Branson and decided to move his family to Missouri. In June 1993, Haygoods, while playing young, took a job in Silver Dollar City. It originally started as a two-week concert, but the theme park ended up extending its stay.

“They started investing in us,” Timothy explains, “and taught us how to sing and tap dance, among other instruments. Over the next decade, we took lessons from 20 different instructors. My mom went to all the big shows in Branson and I would hire bassist Johnny Cash, guitarist Willie Nelson, harpists from other bands, tap dancers from this show and so on, and I'm going to hire them to create all these different musical influences."

In 2002, Haygoods left Silver Dollar City and moved to Branson Lane to start her own business. At first it was not easy. They have a steady following at the theme parks and as an act of their own, they will go out of their way to build a following. No other band has moved from Silver Dollar City to the Branson Strip and has been as successful. But they united as a family, deciding that everything would work out.

At first, they will face a very steep learning curve.

"We didn't know anything about the business side because while we were in Silver Dollar City, we were in a bubble," Timothy said. “We did really well there, but we didn't realize that people weren't just coming to see us, they were coming to experience the whole theme park experience. So, we drove down the lane and immediately crashed into a brick wall. We went from performing to houses with a thousand people per show, to houses with 50 people per show.

They soon received loans from their grandparents to move on their own, as well as the large sums of money they had accumulated over the past decade. Timothy realized that he needed to learn the business side of things very quickly.

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“So I left the stage and started studying marketing and studying Branson and I became obsessed with it,” he said. “I talked to everyone I contacted, every hotel owner, everyone in the music industry, and I realized what we need to do to make it work. And little by little the numbers began to increase.

Timothy's deep dive into marketing is similar to what his brothers and Katherine Haygood did with other aspects of the family business. They all have different responsibilities in the family business and are all self-taught in their respective fields. Michael directed the high tech lighting and special effects for the show.

“I joke with people and say that I go to school with tutorials on YouTube,” says Michael. “Maybe 20 or 25 years ago when we wanted to do all kinds of fun productions and program our light music, but we couldn't afford a programmer. Of necessity, we knew we had to do it ourselves.”

Patrick, who manages the family business's accounts, agrees.

“I was actually going to college to get a degree in entertainment management and was writing a business plan to take the show to a striptease,” he says. "And one of my professors sat me down and said, 'Look, you're in the real world. You don't have to go to college to learn about the real world, your opportunities are right in front of you." So I take it seriously."

Patrick says that the "learn as you go" approach applies to all areas, and some things with special effects they have to learn on their own.

“We decided that we needed a microphone stand with a backlight. We'll figure it out. We want the piano to turn on wirelessly. Well figure it out, do it. Disneyland has employees who map these projections in their castles. Well, we can shorten it and put it in the tool. We'll sort it out."

Dominic Haygood is the show's general producer and music arranger, Katherine handles wardrobe and helps with social media, and Matthew Haygood helps with office administration.

Over the past three decades, they have figured out what works and what doesn't. Two brothers (out of eight) decided not to perform with family bands and instead devoted themselves to other professions.

To date, it is the longest and most successful first generation program in Branson's history.

They also had success elsewhere. In 2011, they teamed up with cable network FSB-TV for a show that took their talents across the United States, as well as touring and performing as far away as China.

These days, Haygoods volunteers to live close to home.

Like many of Branson's actors, they owned their own theater at one point, but management ultimately decided to go out of business.

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“We used to do six gigs a week, but those gigs were so physical and busy that we couldn't keep up,” notes Timothy. "We've also noticed that when we run the theater, our focus is not on the show, but on running the theater."

Tonight they play their show at the Clay Cooper Theatre, where evening shows alternate.

“We made a deal with Clay Cooper whereby we will have two Class A shows that will swap the time at 8pm. This has never happened in Branson before. it's always like that". open. We thought we'd play a show, skip a day, play a show, skip a day, and it ended up being the perfect formula for success."

The schedule allows them to focus on creating and producing the best shows, which they are constantly improving, but they also have time to spend with their children and others.

Family has always been a priority for Haygoods. Patrick said that their commitment to each other helped them get through those early years when things were tough.

“I will tell you about a wonderful memory that I will never forget,” he said. “We just got out of Silver Dollar City, we were alone and had a few injuries. Tim has a hernia, Dominic misses a back flip on stage and breaks his shoulder, and Michael accidentally burns his arm. And I remember looking around the stage, Tim hunched over his guitar, Dominic with a jacket over his shoulders, and Michael playing guitar and literally bleeding on his hands. And we broke it! We bleed but are inseparable, fighting and caring for each other. That attitude starts at a very young age and I think that has helped us over the years."

He said everything was back to normal. Today their parents work with them on all their shows.

“From time to time I see my mom and dad and they are very proud of me,” said Patrick. "And it was so nice, especially to come out of nowhere and see how hard they fought for us."

As happy as they are with their success, it's sometimes hard to believe how far they've come.

“I don’t think any of us thought 10, 15 or 20 years ago, when we were just doing it as a hobby, that this would be a career for 30 years,” Michael said. "We are so blessed and excited to continue as a family."

“I'm amazed at how many people come to Branson to watch our show,” Katherine says. “And keep coming with your children and grandchildren. Sometimes it's hard to understand, but we're happy to have lived here for three decades."

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