Christmas Presence a collection of songs and stories

Show takes place Saturday, Dec. 17 at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Abbotsford

Laura and Ryan Koch

Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre partners with Gallery 7 Theatre to bring Christmas Presence, a collection of songs and stories for the holiday season, to Abbotsford once again on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Ken Hildebrandt, the artistic director of Gallery 7 Theatre in Abbotsford, says Christmas Presence is a highlight of the 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.”

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.

This year’s show will feature readings by Hildebrandt and Reed. They will be joined on stage by several musicians, including Langley-based duo The Kwerks, 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 dreamed 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.”

The show starts at 8 p.m. at  Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way. Tickets are available online at pacifictheatre.org or in person at House of James in Abbotsford.