By George Basler
The holiday season is filled with annual performances from local arts organizations. From pop and classical music to holiday-themed plays, the schedule is a full one designed to heighten your holiday spirit whatever your tastes.
Over the next few weeks, Broome Arts Mirror will be highlighting some events, week by week. This first article covers events for this weekend (Dec. 2-4):
Ti-Ahwaga Community Players
The Ti-Ahwaga Community Players organization will mark a milestone this year when it performs A Christmas Story the weekends of Dec 2-4 and Dec. 9-11.
The performances will mark the 20th anniversary of the Owego-based company’s staging of the play based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd and the 1983 holiday movie of the same name.
The play tells the story of youngster Ralphie Parker, who spends most of his time dodging a bully and scheming to obtain the ultimate Christmas present, an official Red Ryder BB gun.
The Ti-Ahwaga production has become something of a tradition in Owego with families associating it with celebrating the Christmas season, said Jane Nichols, who is producing this year’s show. Linda Fenescey is directing this directing a cast of 11, including seven children,
“It’s been kind of a mainstay for us,” Nichols said. “I still thoroughly enjoy the show.”
IF YOU GO: Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Dec. 2,3, 9 and 10 and 2 p.m. Dec. 4 and 11 at the Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center, 42 Delphine St., Owego. Ticket prices are $25 for ($20 for senior citizens, $15 for students 11-17 and $10 for children 10 and under). To order, go to https://tiahwaga.thundertix.com
The Southerntiersmen Barbershop Chorus is sponsoring a concert to raise money for the Broome County Council of Churches’ CHOW (Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse) program.
The concert has raised more than $40,000 for CHOW since its start some eight years ago, said Gil Durham, the chorus’ president.
This year’s concert will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 4 at St. Cyril’s Church, 148 Clinton St., Binghamton. Besides the Southerntiersmen, the concert will feature performances by the Southern Tier Christian Community Choir, Endwell Community Chorus, the Sunday Brass and the Binghamton Downtown Singers.
The groups will perform mostly Christmas music, with a few non-Christmas songs thrown into the mix, Durham said. All proceeds benefit CHOW.
“It’s very rewarding,” Durham noted. “We’re happy to organize it and participate in it.”
IF YOU GO: Tickets are $10 in advance,and $12 at the door. Call 607-372-1730.
Endicott Performing Arts Center
The holiday season is a busy time for the Endicott Performing Arts Center, and this year is no exception, Executive Director Joe Foti said.
Productions begin this weekend (Dec. 2-4) with the EPAC Christmas Show. The event is a “traditional variety show” with dancing, chorus numbers, duets and solos, Foti said. In addition, there will be skits from the popular Christmas stories Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
This is the first time EPAC has done the show live in several years, Foti said, adding; We’re expecting full houses.”
Next weekend (Dec. 9-11), EPAC will present The Nutcracker ballet in partnership with FUSE Dance Center of Binghamton. In addition to classical ballet, the performances with feature tap and acro dance. Performers from the EPAC Repertory Company will do the first act, and dancers from FUSE will do the second.
IF YOU GO: The performances are at the Endicott Performing Arts Center, 102 Washington Ave., Endicott. EPAC Christmas Show performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. Performances of The Nutcracker are 7 p.m. Friday, Dec 9; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. Tickets for either show are $20, ($18 for seniors and children). To order go to www.endicottarts.com.
Madrigal Choir of Binghamton
The Madrigal Choir of Binghamton’s Lessons and Carols for Christmas has been an annual seasonal tradition since 1995.
The program is modeled on the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College in England, with the choir performing readings, Christmas carols and hymns from the Medieval age to the 21st century, said director Bruce Borton.
This year’s concert features a 38-member choir. Also featured will be returning regulars Timothy Smith at the organ and the early music ensemble Simple Gifts, featuring Barbara Kaufman on the recorders, Paul Sweeny on guitar and Smith on organ.
The choir will be going on the road as well as performing in Binghamton. The same concert will be presented at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at First Presbyterian Union Church in Owego, and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at Trinity Memorial Church in Binghamton.
This is the second time the choir has performed in Owego. “We did it in 2019, and it was very successful, so we decided to try it again, Borton said.
IF YOU GO: Tickets are $20 for either performance. To order, go to the choir’s website, www.madrigalchoir.com and click on tickets. Tickets will also be available at the door. Student tickets are only available at the door.
First Presbyterian Union Church is at 111 Temple St., Owego; Trinity Memorial Church is at 44 Main St., Binghamton.
Mix classical ballet with jazz dancing, contemporary ballet, modern dancing, swing and tap, and you get Jazz Nutcracker, which will be performed Dec. 2-4 at Binghamton University’s Watters Theater.
The show is the brainchild of JoEllen Kuhlman, an adjunct dance instructor at the university, who choreographed the performances. Dancers include Binghamton University students and local children who audition to be in the show.
Kuhlman describes the show as “very upbeat and lively” with a lot of energy. It tells the traditional story in which a young girl receives a nutcracker as a gift from her uncle. The girl then dreams her beloved nutcracker comes to life and takes her on a series of fantasy adventures.
“We’re following the basic story line but putting in our own twists. It’s fun for audience members to see,” Kuhlman said.
In addition to the traditional Tchaikovsky melodies, Jazz Nutcracker includes sections from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite and The Swingin’ Nutcracker by jazz trumpeter Shorty Rodgers.
This is the third time Jazz Nutcracker has been performed at BU, but the first time since 2018. “I hope it puts audience members in the holiday spirit,” Kuhlman said.
IF YOU GO: Adult tickets are $20; children’s tickets are $10. Performances are 8 p.m. Dec. 2; 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 3, and 2 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Watters Theater of the Fine Arts Building at Binghamton University. For tickets, go to anderson-center.secure.force.com/ticket/.