Final weekend for Christmas Spectacular

Thank you to all those readers who emailed to say they were pleased I’d returned to blog-land. I’ll try to post on a more regular basis in the New Year.

As you know from last week’s blog, I’m again performing in the band accompanying the Yellow Point Christmas Spectacular. Last Sunday evening we wrapped up the run at the Cedar Community Hall, performing 6 shows between Friday and Sunday. Playing this many shows in such a short space of time was a first for me. 

This week the cast has been enjoying a few days off before moving the production into Nanaimo’s Port Theatre for the final four performances. The run in Cedar was very successful with many patrons expressing their preference for the Christmas ambiance the rural setting provides. However, equally there are those who like the Port Theatre run due to the better sight lines and comfortable seating inherent in a sloped floor venue. 

The shows at the Port Theatre are Dec.19 (7pm), Dec. 20 (2pm &7pm)  & Dec. 21 (2pm). Tickets can be ordered for the Port Theatre shows on-line at or by phone at 250-754-8550.

PHOTO: Setting up for the Port Theatre run of the Yellow Point Christmas Spectacular. View of the stage from the Sound Board. 

Last Saturday morning at 6:30 am I left our home in North Nanaimo and drove over the hump to Port Alberni to help set up for the Timbre! Choir’s dress rehearsal in the ADSS Theatre. Playing the Yellowpoint show meant I wouldn’t be able to attend the choir’s public performance the following day. However, I was able to stay at the dress rehearsal long enough to hear the concert’s first half before scooting back over the hump to Cedar to play a Yellowpoint matinee.   

In the half of the rehearsal I heard, the choir was in top form and the sound in the theatre was magnificent. The program was called Simply Christmas and my wife Pat as musical director had chosen a potpourri of both old and new carols. Excerpts from Messiah by Handel held its traditional place on the program alongside such new songs as Let It Go from the recent movie box office hit Frozen and a beautiful ballad by Gordon Lightfoot, newly arranged by Larry Nickel, titled Song for a Winter’s Night. Other new arrangements programmed included Huron Carol and I Saw Three Ships.  Accompanist for the concert was our niece Danielle Marcinek who recently returned from the United Kingdom and is now based in Vancouver. Judging by the emails that Pat received from audience members following the concert, Simply Christmas was a resounding triumph.

                 PHOTO; Timbre! preparing their concert on the ADSS Theatre stage last Saturday.

Christmas Time is Movie Time 

During December the major movie studios invariably launch an array of new films. Many are vying for an Academy Award nomination before the year‐end deadline. For a movie fan such as myself it’s a virtual film feast. So far I’ve seen The Theory of Everything, the extraordinary story of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Two days ago I survived the 2:24 minute running time of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Having seen all the movies in the series (this is the final installment), I’m definitely Hobbited out. Topping the list of films I’ve seen so far is Interstellar, which is about a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage. The movie blew me away. The 3 hours just flew by. I plan to see this one again just to understand everything. However, on the flip side, one movie to skip is Top Five starring Chris Rock. The film is just plain bad and vulgar to boot. I left the theatre before it was over. 

PHOTO: During the immense rainstorm last week I made a quick run out to Sproat Lake to check our summer house. I’ve never seen the lake so high. The gangway in the photo above normally slopes down to the float.