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Christmas on the horizon, as arts take centre stage

November 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

When it comes to talking about the arts in Orangeville, there is always plenty to say and Christmas in town is a happy and fulsome time. In order to give readers something of a run through of what’s in store, we will offer stories old and new.

Theatre Orangeville opens the festivities in December with its annual Christmas show, this year a musical production of Little Women, with the music and lyrics composed by Jim Betts. Nancy Early wrote the script about a year in the lives of the Marsh sisters and their mother.

Musical director for the show is John Hughes, whose parents and grandparents were all Dufferin natives.

The laughter and tears, the story and the music will cheer and enthrall Theatre Orangeville audiences. The musical Little Women opens tonight, November 28, and runs until December 22.

For this year’s Christmas concerts, the New Tecumseh Singers and Dufferin Concert Singers join voices, at the Broadway Pentecostal Church this Saturday, November 30, at 7:30 p.m.

Conductor, John Wervers, said, “We’ve prepared a Christmas cantata, titled Sing Christmas. Published just last year, it consists of new as well as familiar material. We’ll also perform a variety of short seasonal selections to round out the Christmas concert. This year, our soloists are Kim Stevenson on flute and Sean Derraugh on clarinet.

He added, “We’ll perform some newer works by John Rutter,. With Rutter, new is a relative term. And we’ll do lighter Christmas musical choices.”

This is the second time for the two choirs to bring their Christmas concert to the Pentecostal Church. 

As Mr. Wervers observed,. “We performed Messiah here last year to a sold-out audience. The church has very good capacity.” 

The following Friday, Westminster United Church is staging its Christmas Concert.

Music Director Nancy Sicsic took time to tell us about some of the highlights, “This is a concert of young performers. We’re taking the idea of decorating the Christmas tree, with the angel. One of the children will read the Christmas story (Luke 2:8 to 14). This will be a little lighter [than Charlie Brown’s Christmas].”

She said, “I like this concert. Our new youth minister, she’s in charge for the script and the format of the service. She and I always get together to figure how it will go.”

A much loved part of the music at Westminster is the Heavenly Metal Bells Choir, as it sounds, is a choir of bell ringers, playing some selections.

Ms. Sicsic added, “We’re hoping for Hayden Thomas to play one of his amazing pieces on the piano. Kids of any age can come and see their peers play. Kim Stevenson, who plays piano and flute is doing a kind of jazzy Christmas music any age will enjoy.”

Westminster’s Christmas concert is Friday, December 6, and the time is 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., “roughly.”

There will be hot cider and goodies [for the kids]. 

In a new agreement with Theatre Orangeville on the use of their Rehearsal Hall space as an occasional intimate theatre and, so, new to Orangeville, Michele Green and Suzette Sherman are bringing their very special dance – the Passionate Heart – Women’s Stories through Dance. 

Dancing comes into another philosophy while bringing its basic intensity along. Ms. Green and Sherman think dance has more to accomplish than to entertain. Dance can tell the stories of people’s lives and all that entails.

They dance about friendship and they dance about solitude. 

“It’s a two-person show,” Ms. Sherman explained during an interview with the Citizen some months ago. “Whatever the audience gets out of the pieces is the correct thing.

“Step outside your worlds into how you feel. What about a celebration?”

While not specifically a Christmas show, it deals with some of the big feelings that are more in evidence at this time of year, then, perhaps, otherwise.

The dance takes place on December 8, at 3:00 p.m. at the Theatre Orangeville Rehearsal Hall just outside town behind the Community Living Dufferin building on County Road 3. To reserve seats, which are quite limited, and for further details, contact them at passionateheartdance@gmail.com

Broadway Musical’s Christmas recital Sunday is December 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “These are our students,” Heather Katz, co-owner, singer, musician, teacher, told us. “We have students come in one hour time slots because we have so many students. We make it a pot luck but the kids can bring their families and their friends. It’s a lot of fun. 

“We’re not selling tickets; it’s not actually a public event but if someone wanted to show up and sit in a for a while; see the kids perform, not only kids but adults take lessons here too, and see what it’s all about, they’d be welcome. This provides an opportunity to perform in a warm and supporting crowd; to get up on a stage and do what they love to do. It’s wonderful – you see the teachers’ faces beam.” 

The Lord Dufferin Choir, whose members are all residents of the Lord Dufferin Centre (LDC), will sing this Yuletide at the Angel Tree Service.  

“Hopefully on the 10th,” said Pam Claridge, the choir’s director, as she explained further, “People buy little angels to put on the Christmas tree in memory of someone who’s passed on. This goes on at Lord Dufferin every December. We’ve been doing it for years on the 2nd floor, the big activity room. They have a lovely tree and we do a lovely service about the angels in our lives.

“They sell angels, every year’s a different one; we sing and they sing and we have some prayers and lovely poems, like My First Christmas in Heaven. It’s a very nice service. It was one of (LDC founder) Mrs. Baniulis’s favourites.”

She said, “We actually had it planned for next Tuesday but we moved it to the tenth when there was a lockdown related to illness. 

“Anybody who would like come is welcome.”

Mrs. Claridge was humorous about her own “angel collection. I have them of every material. They’re all over the place,” she admitted, “but they have lots of memories. My daughter declared that people shouldn’t give me any more angels, “so, the St. Mark’s choir gave me one I could put out in the garden and the church gave me an Al Pace plate with an angel in it – a one-off.

And she emphasized, “This Angel Tree service is open to everybody who would like to come to remember somebody that they would like to think of as their angels.”

For more information and to confirm the date and time, call Trish on 519-941-8433.



         

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