The annual A Carol For Christmas event promises plenty of music

Holiday music with a twist

A Carol For Christmas, Songs, Strings and Steps takes place inb Abbotsford on Dec. 20-22.

For this year’s 12th edition of A Carol For Christmas, Songs, Strings and Steps musical director Calvin Dyck is uniting traditional holiday music, wrapped with a twist.

“I am a real fan of performances like Cirque du Soleil, where the whole space is filled,” said Dyck. “You have acrobatic acts, costuming, and a constant flow of entertainment. There isn’t this static element, but rather there is narration and as one piece stops, the next picks up. It’s a whole experience for the audience.”

It is that type of atmosphere Dyck and the more than 120 performers look to emulate when they take to the stage this year for four shows running from  Dec. 20 to 22.

The shows take place at the Central Heights Church, 1661 McCallum Rd., in Abbotsford.

“The idea is that Songs, Strings and Steps is something that you should experience. It’s not something you can get by just sitting back and listening to a CD or watching a program on TV. You have to be there to truly appreciate what we offer,” said Dyck.

And what’s in store for this year’s performance includes not only traditional Christmas carols, sing-alongs, comedy, and drama, but a carol competition with prizes of more than $5,500.

A call was put out early in the year for new Christmas music, and judging has whittled down the 30 submissions from across North America to eight finalists, including three local entrants.

The competition will be split into three categories: solo, choral, and contemporary.

Abbotsford violinist and music teacher Stan Gubiotti will be joined by locally born conductor Larry Nickel and pianist Karen Savage for the chance to win the grand prize.

Dyck said perhaps one of the great attributes of this year’s presentation is the combination of local talent mixed with professional acts. This year’s show includes soprano Alison Nystrom, the Pilkey Sisters, as well as members of the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra and members of the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance.

“We’ve always had such great support from the community,” Dyck said, noting they sold out virtually all 3,200 tickets last year and anticipate selling out all four shows this year.

He said close to half of all the tickets have been sold, so he’s encouraging people to buy early and not be disappointed at the ticket window.

Tickets are available at House of James and King’s Music.

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