“A Christmas Carol”
Even Ebenezer Scrooge couldn’t dampen the holiday spirit of the sold-out crowds who attended last weekend’s “A Christmas Carol - A New Musical.”
Directed by Heather Sconce, the holiday classic, with a musical twist and a cast of 50, runs Dec. 4-13, at the Sierra Pines Church..
The play’s musical score has many original songs written in a traditional musical theater style, while integrating familiar carols and songs of Christmas that audiences recognized.
Meredith Chainey attended the show last Sunday with her 10-year-old daughter Emily.
“This is a very professional show,” Meredith said. “The costumes, and the set are perfect.”
Emily loved the singing, calling all the singers “excellent.”
Pat Forshee of Coarsegold said “the show highlights the incredible talent that is in our area. People need to come see this - It’s amazing.”
Brandon Mallard, who has performed in nearly 25 productions, is outstanding as the cantankerous Ebenezer Scrooge.
The adorable Elisa Heidebrecht, an 11-year-old sixth grader at Mountain Home School, plays Tiny Tim in the show, alongside her father, Bob Heidebrecht, who plays Bob Cratchit.
Sconce’s co-star from last year’s Jordan Michel, who co-starred with Sconce in last year’s production of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” is serving as assistant director and plays Fred in the musical.
“My hope for audiences is that they come into this show with hearts open and ready to receive an incredible message of hope and joy, amidst a time that is often hard for some,” Sconce said. “Music and theater sometimes have a way of reaching into someones heart and soul, in a way that other things cannot. Join Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and other characters as Scrooge comes face to face with destiny, darkness and second chances.
“I am so honored to be a part of a community event that brings joy to not only the people who come to see the show, but to those who are involved as well,” Sconce added.
The show will be presented at 7 p.m., this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 11, 12), and 2 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 13).
Doors open one hour before each performance with carolers and Santa greeting attendees in the church lobby.
Tickets: $14 for adults, $12 seniors, and $10 children (10 and under). Tickets available at the door or at buychristmascaroltickets.com. Sierra Pines Church, 40855 Covey Court and Highway 49. Details: Heather Sconce, Sierra Pines Church, (559) 683-2882, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the sixth consecutive year, some 50 singers from area church choirs - including New Community United Methodist Church, Oakhurst Lutheran Church, and Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church - will come together for two identical Christmas programs (4 and 6:30 p.m.) this Sunday, at the Presbyterian Church, 39696 Highway 41.
In addition to a variety of choral numbers, the program will feature fine instrumentalists from across the Mountain Area, on instruments including cello, violin, flute, organ and more.
And, in a charming twist on tradition, the talented musicians are varying the program this year by presenting a compendium of selected musical pieces celebrating the theme “God's Promises Fulfilled.”
“There will be an opportunity or two for those in the audience to join in on a beloved, familiar song of the season, such as the majestic “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” said Catherine Walker, one of four directors for the performance.
Other carols the audience will be able to join-in on include “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “Silent Night,” “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice,” “We Three Kings,” and the always popular “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Conducting duties for the concert will be shared by Susan Moore from Oakhurst Lutheran Church, Monika Moulin from New Community United Methodist Church and Walker, from Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, who serves as the event’s coordinator. Pianists lending their accompanist skills include Mary Posluch, and Jackie Byers.
Noted cellist Boris Nixon will be featured in a haunting choral setting of the ancient tune “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.”
Flutist Sandra Schaefer will lend musical interest to “Longing for Light, We Wait in Darkness,” and violinist Sarah Ottley will be featured in “The King of Glory.”
Soprano Julia Noble, 12, will provide the traditional solo-voice opening verse of “Once in Royal David’s City,” which is - in Church of England congregations and cathedrals the world over - the first piece in any traditional Christmas festival.
“I’m a little nervous performing in front of so many people, but also very excited,” Noble said.
Julia’s mother, Bree Noble, joins the chorus as soloist on “Have You Heard the News?”
“This is an event not to miss,” Bree said. “All the instrumentalists and the combined choirs are top notch, and all the songs will be very familiar.”
Selections from Handel's beloved Messiah will be offered, including local soprano Susan Moore singing “He Shall Feed His Flock.” Additionally, the chorus will offer “Worthy is the Lamb.”
Mountain Area musicians Kirk and Monika Moulin will provide a special jazz version of “Have Yourself a Blessed Little Christmas,” and will be featured in the finale, a version of “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”
There is no admission charge to the two concerts, although free-will offerings will be accepted.
Details: Catherine Walker, (559) 658-7376.
Toys for Tots
The annual Toy Round-Up, the largest event of the season for the Marine Corps League Griswold Mountain Detachment 1121 was held Dec. 5 in two locations - the parking lot of the Old Mill Shopping Center (Vons), and the Coarsegold Historic Village, co-sponsored by the Coarsegold Chamber of Commerce. According to this year’s toy drive coordinator, Dennis Osantowski, detachment volunteers collected nearly 300 toys and about $1,900 in cash donations including 30 toys and $700 collected by the Yosemite High School Cheer squad though their bake sale.
The detachment was assisted by Madera County Fire Department Station 12 (Oakhurst) and Cal Fire’s Bass Lake and Ahwahnee stations.
This year’s toy drive ends Dec. 13, when, by the end of the day, about 90 donation bins throughout Eastern Madera County at businesses, schools, and churches, will be picked up with toys sorted by age and gender and prepared for distribution. Osantowski said more toys for children 13 years-old and older are still needed.
Last year about 4,000 toys with a value of $60,000 were distributed to about 1,900 children in the Mountain Area.
“Once again, we understand this has been a tough financial year for many families in the Mountain Area, and we thank everyone for their generosity. All the toys collected and purchased will be distributed to needy children in the Mountain Area,” Osantowski said.