Christmas Presence delights with story and song
by Angelika Dawson
This month, Pacific Theatre presents its much beloved Christmas Presence, a collection of songs and stories for the holiday season. There will be six performances at Pacific Theatre and one performance in collaboration with Gallery 7 Theatre in Abbotsford.
Pacific Theatre’s artistic director, Ron Reed likes to call the event “the un-slickest Christmas show in town”, saying that the vibe at Christmas Presence is that of a family gathering that has burst into story and song – if you happen to have a family of diverse and talented musicians and story tellers. For Ken Hildebrandt, the artistic director of Gallery 7 Theatre, Christmas Presence is a highlight of Christmas season.
“It’s so different from all the regular seasonal events out there. The stories are selected hours before the show and sometimes things even change during the show,” he says. “You never know what you’re going to get but you can count on a meaningful experience.”
Each show includes a different set of musicians, with readings done by Reed. In Abbotsford, he’ll share the stage with Hildebrandt. The Abbotsford show will headline Langley-based duo The Kwerks who are joined by Allen Desnoyers, Jon Ochsendorf, Brett Ziegler, and Rick Colhoun.
Laura Koch, of the Kwerks, says the first time she attended Christmas Presence as an audience member, she felt it was “pure magic” and dreamt of being a part of it. Last year that dream came true. This year, The Kwerks will be part of three performances in Vancouver and the one in Abbotsford.
“We couldn’t be more excited to connect with a great group of musicians and offer the audience a really special gift,” she says. “Christmas Presence is a really unique show, thrown together in a fantastic, nearly improvisational way, and it results in a very lively, organic experience for both the performers and the audience.”
Hildebrandt says people should come see Christmas Presence simply because it is so unique.
“The show gives audiences a chance to kick back, enjoy some great music, and listen in on some interesting stories,” he says. “It’s a great ‘pick-me-up’ in the midst of the busyness of the season. A gentle reminder of what the season truly is about.” For a complete listing of show times and ticket information, visit pacifictheatre.org