Songs Strings & Steps presentsHome for Christmas
Featuring: Calvin Dyck and the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra
Jubilate!, directed by Larry Nickel
The Pilkey Sisters, Courteney Rodda, MEI Drumline, Mel Bowker
Stage Direction: Sylvia Friesen
Friday, December 20, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 21, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Central Heights Church, 1661 McCallum Road, Abbotsford
Tickets at House of James and Kings Music (Abbotsford and Chilliwack) and by calling 604-853-5996
Just steaming along - Home for Christmas!By Rosemary Phillips
It’s time to pack the suitcases and get to the station for a musical journey Home for Christmas! You won’t want to miss the train in this spectacular Songs Strings & Steps production. On board: over 150 performers; dancers, actors, singers and musicians. The station: Central Heights Church, 1661 McCallum Road, Abbotsford. Scheduled departures: Friday, December 20 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, December 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Destination: Home for Christmas.
All aboard! Directed by Calvin Dyck and staged by Sylvia Friesen with a host of exceptional talent, Home for Christmas takes the audience on a memorable journey – as in days of not long ago – by steam train. Featured are the sights and sounds of the station, the old fashioned ticket wicket, the train and its steam, porters, ticket punchers, and of course, a conductor (played by guess who?). The passengers include the soaring strings of the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra, the embracing voices of Vancouver’s Jubilate choir conducted by Larry Nickel, the ever entertaining pianist Mel Bowker, the youthful charm of the Pilkey Sisters, jazz singer Courteney Rodda, dancers, the popular MEI Drumline – and the audience.
The schedule: From its departure with Polar Express, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas the train stops along the way with so many traditional and new favourites like White Christmas, Song for a Winter’s Night, Christmas in Killarney and the Christmas Waltz (with dancers). Says Calvin, “We still have traditional carols such as Little Drummer Boy, I Heard the Bells, and For Unto Us a Child is Born.” Upon arriving at the final stop – everyone will sing the inspiring O Holy Night.
Passenger participation and the Carol Contest: If there’s one thing the Songs Strings & Steps team loves, it’s audience participation. “Along with travel experiences, we have several sing-alongs, and the return of the highly successful Carol Contest,” explains Calvin. “The audience has three carols to vote on during intermission. Two of the carols are by local Fraser Valley composers, Stan Gubiotti and Joyce Janzen, and the last by Gail Poulsen from Ontario. In addition to prize money, the winning carol will be published. A jury selected the top three submissions to be performed during Home for Christmas. This year the audience can even vote by iPhone, and the winner will be announced during the Saturday evening performance.”
Surprises: “We always have to have surprises,” adds Calvin laughing. “My wife Heather, Sylvia and I started planning this show six months ago, dreaming about what could happen. We also asked the cast and the youth for their ideas. So yes, there are surprises. And at the end of the concert as everyone leaves the station, they get a special treat. Yes, it’s a surprise!”
Tickets: To be sure of your seat on this exciting trip Home for Christmas, visit your local musical travel agent (House of James and Kings Music and by calling 604-853-5996) before tickets sell out.