I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world. --Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 28, 29. {ChS 112.2}

Friday, December 07, 2007

"A Christmas Peace"

<==the Co-Val Choristers have been rehearsing at The Old Church Theatre under the tutelage of Beryl Regier. Celebrating 50 years of performing in the Comox Vally in 2008, Co-Val Choristers are performing a Christmas Peace, with shows Dec. 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Tickets $12 are available at the box office at 755 Harmston Ave. Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PHOTO BY JULES S. XAVIER
I'm kind of a couch potato, or homebody, or whatever you want to call it when someone needs a good prod to leave the house and go out of an evening. But, every so often, my dear husband gets tickets for a concert or a show and I (usually rather grumblingly) will give in and take in an entertainment.

Last night we gathered with about 200 other folks, cast, crew and audience, for the annual Christmas show of the Co-Val Choristers in the "Old Church Theatre" near downtown Courtenay. As we entered, Ed was greeted with "Four No Trump" by one of his bridge cronies. I was excited that we got the best seats in the place... and by pure accident, too-- Ed had called on his cell late in the afternoon as he drove past the theatre and was told that he was fortunate since someone had just canceled... otherwise, they were 'full-up'. The "Old Church" is recognizably that: there are not pews anymore, but the theatre seating is pretty much rows of old movie theatre seats on risers starting with Row I, which is where we found ourselves.

I made a trip down to check out the 'facilities'-- always a priority with me. They were clean and freshly painted (even had cute little moon cut-outs on the upper portions of the stalls)but we don't have to be ashamed of our Church's washrooms-- this place is set up to accommodate 200, mostly women, and there were only three stalls. The cast were running about at the break selling raffle tickets to do up the downstairs floors, so it is unlikely that bathrooms are on the agenda.

So, back up in the Theatre proper... we were first struck by the interesting lighting above the stage... there was a huge, lovely dove with an olive branch cast against the wall. Later we were treated to the Star of Bethlehem. I love this kind of light show!

It was very interesting to read about the history of both the Co-Valley Choristers and the "Old Church" in the program. In BC's Centennial year, 1958, Beryl (Grant) Regier founded the Co-Valley Choristers. 2008 is, of course, BC's 150th year as a province, and the Co-Valley Choristers celebrate their 50th year entertaining Courtenay and area. As well, the "Old Church" is 70 years old. It was formerly known as Christ the King Canadian Martyrs' Church, consecrated in 1938. Many renovations have taken place, with the completion of the basement to be done before the end of the year. (Hope I win the lovely nativity set I bought raffle tickets on).

"A Christmas Peace" was made up of a number of musical numbers with interspersed scenes from the "Christmas Story". The cast ranged in age from people in their 70s and 80s, down to young children around 7 and up. Beryl Regier, the founder, was also the Artistic Director of all that went on on stage. I am very impressed. Remember how Moses needed help to keep his staff raised above his head? Well, Ms. Regier rather athletically directed the music (and cued for the odd missed line)for a good hour and a half!

The musical pieces ranged from unfamiliar 'dramatic' ones such as "A Great and Mighty Wonder" through a re-worded "O Holy Night" and even included some 'dance-able' songs like "Air for Advent" and "Halleluiah, Amen". There were even a couple of scenes reminiscent of Fiddler on the Roof's sort of comic relief: one bit with a song around "Taxes" (of all things)was quite hilarious.

One of my current favourite Christmas carols, "Mary, did you know?" was sung towards the end. There was also a lovely piece called "Friendly Beasts" sung by the children in the troop, with appropriate animal sounds. The children were very charmingly made use of in this performance. At one point they ran lightly about rounding up shepherds and kings to bring to see the Child Jesus.

Most of the audience members were as old as us, or older. I loved it, but I was also happy that it was only an hour and a half. I'm not alone, I know... many of us have trouble sitting in one place for great lengths of time without aches, pains, or the need for bathroom breaks.

The costumes were very striking... rather like a children's school pageant, but with richer colors and better sewing (and no bathrobes or head-towels). A woman in front of me took out her camera for a few shots. At the end of the performance I tapped her on the shoulder and asked if I might get some of the pictures emailed to me. She looked startled at first, explaining that there was, indeed, a sign up stating that no cameras were to be used in the show. She stated that she had been very careful not to use a flash or anything that would distract those on stage.

All in all, a lovely night out at the Theatre. Much recommended!

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