Briercrest celebrates Christmas in drama and song

Julie Cole | Nov 20, 2012
Abigail Jaillet and several cast members from Briercrest's production of A Christmas Carol practice a scene depicting the Fezziwig's Christmas party. (Photo by Viktor Karklins) Abigail Jaillet and several cast members from Briercrest's production of A Christmas Carol practice a scene depicting the Fezziwig's Christmas party. (Photo by Viktor Karklins)Abigail Jaillet and several cast members from Briercrest's production of A Christmas Carol practice a scene depicting the Fezziwig's Christmas party. (Photo by Viktor Karklins)
Abigail Jaillet and several cast members from Briercrest's production of A Christmas Carol practice a scene depicting the Fezziwig's Christmas party. (Photo by Viktor Karklins) Abigail Jaillet and several cast members from Briercrest's production of A Christmas Carol practice a scene depicting the Fezziwig's Christmas party. (Photo by Viktor Karklins)Abigail Jaillet and Jordan Kornelsen play the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig in Briercrest's production of A Christmas Carol. (Photo by Viktor Karklins)

This year’s Celebrate Christmas program at Briercrest College and Seminary has something for everyone.

Throughout the weekend of November 30 – December 2, Briercrest will present two separate programs that both portray the meaning of Christmas – one through drama and the other through song.

A Christmas Carol, the well-loved story of the redemption of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, will be performed by the drama department on the evening of November 30 and the afternoon of December 1. On Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon the music department will be performing Redeeming Light, a concert comprised of Christmas carols old and new.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” Ron de Jager, artistic director for the weekend’s programs said. “I think it’s something we haven’t done before so I’m excited to see how people respond.”

“We’re hopeful that whoever shows up can celebrate with us and will enjoy different styles of performance and be moved by both,” Scott Finch, Briercrest’s assistant professor of music and worship arts said

De Jager was drawn to the play A Christmas Carol because of its familiarity with audiences.

 “Everybody knows the story of Dickens – of A Christmas Carol,” he exclaimed. “We took it from the book and modified our own script. That’s the nice thing because it’s public domain. We can craft it the way it suits us.”

Finch also says he’s excited about the simplicity of the concert, Redeeming Light.

“It goes after the specific themes about the Light of the world,” he explained. “Recasting in music what God has done.”

Rehearsals for A Christmas Carol have been underway since the beginning of October.

“We’ve already done a full run-through of the play,” de Jager said. “That went quite well, so now we’re working on individual character work.”

The artistic director singled out the performances of two actors in the production’s 30-person cast.

“Joseph Wilson plays Scrooge,” he said. “I think he does a great characterization of him. It’s a ton of lines – he’s pretty much on stage the whole time. He’s got it all memorized already. He’s quite sharp on stage and does things instinctively.”

“Tiny Tim played by Michael King – I don’t know how anybody could not like (his character),” he said. “He doesn’t even have that many lines but everybody feels this connection with him.”

For the choral concert, Finch will be directing a 140 voice choir made up of the college singers, Resonant, and Caronport High School choir. The 75-minute concert will feature each choir, selected soloists, and close with a combined choir.

“This gives us a way of highlighting our performers that are soloistic and then also highlighting our bigger groups,” Finch said. “Each has the venue most helpful in complimenting their gifts and talents.”

The evening closes with the combined choirs performing the Hallelujah Chorus. Finch explains why this selection encapsulates the program’s theme even though it’s not actually a Christmas song.

“While we are excited about the idea of the arrival of the Christ child, it’s that child who will become a man who will die and rise again,” he explained. “That’s where our anchor is for Christmas. That is the Light of the World that can’t be contained or hindered.”

Tickets, which are $15 for each performance, may be purchased at briercrest.ca/christmas or by calling 1-888-462-2202.