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Christian Audio Adventure Tops NPR, Garrison Keillor at Voice Arts Awards

Contact: Kim Kent, Heirloom Audio, 815-259-0137, kim@heirloomaudio.com

THOMSON, Ill., Nov. 30, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- A star-filled Christian audio adventure that is putting God back into history beat both NPR and Garrison Keillor at the recent 2016 Voice Arts Awards, which are the audio industry's equivalent to the Academy Awards and honor the best productions and talent in the audio industry.

Heirloom Audio Productions' The Dragon And The Raven won three Voice Arts Awards Nov. 13 in Burbank, Calif.: Outstanding Production, Audio Engineering, and Outstanding Spoken Word and Storytelling, and in the latter category edged NPR Kitchen Moments (Allison Aubrey and Dan Charles) and The Road Home, voiced by Keillor.

The Dragon And The Raven chronicles the story of how King Alfred the Great (849-899) led an army that beat the barbaric Vikings, saved the English lands and brought the country back to God. It stars Helen George (Call The Midwife), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord Of The Rings, Indiana Jones), Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who, The Hobbit), John Bell (The Hobbit), Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, King Lear) and Katherine Kellgren (award-winning narrator).

Company's Seventh Audio Adventure
Heirloom Audio – which has released a total of seven dramas -- was founded by Bill Heid with the goal of giving children wholesome, Christ-centered entertainment that not only engages the mind but also educates and inspires. The company's CDs are based on G.A. Henty historical novels and feature top actors and actresses, along with original musical scores and sound effects, detailing the stories of Christian heroes from history. Each drama features two CDs and spans more than two hours. Free study guides and discussion starters for parents also are included for each adventure. 

"History in our culture has been sterilized and secularized, with the faith of great men and women completely removed from movies, news as well as our school's textbooks," Heid said. "These projects are all about putting faith back into history in a meaningful and exciting way."
It was the eighth award for Heirloom Audio, which also won five Voice Arts Awards in 2015. Competing alongside Keillor was particularly satisfying for Heid, who is a longtime fan of the former host of A Prairie Home Companion.

"Garrison Keillor is one of my favorite storytellers. In fact, I have been listening to his work since I was a kid," Heid said. "It was an honor simply to be nominated in the same category as him – much less to win it."

The Power Of Radio
Another one of Heid's goals is to bring back the medium of radio in a new and dynamic way – that is, to tell riveting, faith-based stories with the absolute best sound effects and music available. As a child, Heid listened not only to Keillor but also to the radio shows Lone Ranger and Green Hornet. 

"Sound-design technology has changed so much," Heid said. "So this is not your grandfather's old-time radio. We're definitely in a new technological era for sound design."

Heid said the new audio adventures are "similar to a movie, except the story is played out in the theater of your mind."

"We wanted to make our audio adventures big and epic, like a blockbuster movie," he said. "In fact, we think audio is the richest way for adults and children to process a story. If you watch a movie on the big screen, you're allowing George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to do all the imagination work for you. But when you listen to an audio adventure, your brain becomes the director and producer: I mean what's it like when a cannonball goes whizzing by your head? What's it like to be on a small boat in a 30-foot swell, with the waves crashing down on you? When you listen and actually become the producer of the story in the theater of your mind, it becomes a much richer and dynamic experience."

Captivating Storytelling
Heid said one goal is to produce audio adventures that are so engaging and captivating that children stay glued to the story. One Heirloom Audio customer is actor Kirk Cameron, who told Heid his son James did not want to get out of the car when listening to one of the stories, Under Drake's Flag. Cameron and his son James both later starred in the Heirloom Audio production, With Lee In Virginia.

The stories are especially popular with families who spend time on the road – whether driving across town or on longer road trips. 

"Raising children in modern-day America is tough enough, and so if we can help out busy moms and dads, while instilling biblical morals and distinctly Christian values in children… it's worth it," Heid said. "What's really exciting is we've recently discovered the brain-building power of audio dramas, as well.

"Researchers have discovered the IQ-building power of listening rather than watching," Heid added. "Experts at the University of Georgia and other universities have found that listening to audio dramas like Heirloom's audio adventures have been found to actually increase verbal IQ, fluency and even help children stay focused. In the future, audio adventures may even prove to be a healthy antidote to so many of the 'screen-driven' learning disabilities that seem to plague our youth today."

Heirloom Audio previously released Under Drake's Flag, In Freedom's Cause, With Lee In Virginia, The Cat Of Bubastes, and Beric The Briton. Its newest release is In The Reign Of Terror.

To interview Bill Heid, the founder of Heirloom Audio, contact Kim Kent at 815-259-0137 or kim@heirloomaudio.com. To watch trailers, visit BillHeid.com.