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Something to help build Christmas Spirit

Jacob Moon and the Welcome Christmas Orchestra present “An Enchanted Evening of Carols & Holiday Songs” at the Registry Theatre Dec. 19 and 20. The venue then hosts a production of A Christmas Carol leading up to the big day.
Jacob Moon and the Welcome Christmas Orchestra present “An Enchanted Evening of Carols & Holiday Songs” at the Registry Theatre Dec. 19 and 20. The venue then hosts a production of A Christmas Carol leading up to the big day.

If the snow and festive lights haven’t quite yet succeeded in getting your Christmas spirit in top gear, the Registry Theatre has a few last-minute presentations that should help do the trick.

This weekend (Friday and Saturday), singer/songwriter Jacob Moon and an assortment of musical guests will be performing Christmas music galore. Then on Monday and Tuesday, a group of young actors will stage that quintessential holiday favourite: A Christmas Carol.

Moon’s two-day stint at the Registry is shaping up to become something of a tradition itself, this being the third year for his Christmas show there. This year, the sound will be bigger than ever, as Moon, his band and string quartet will see up to 10 performers on stage. The combinations will make for a real mix.

“It’s kind of like a variety show,” he said in an interview from his Hamilton home. “I like to mix it up – it’ll be a diverse, eclectic night.”

On tap is an assortment of traditional carols and his Christmas songs. As well, his guests will perform their own renditions of seasonal music. You can expect a variety of styles: folk, celtic, rock, classical and even some soul.

“There’ll be some traditional music, and some nice discoveries that people will make,” he explained, noting that his own songs have a traditional feel to them – “I wanted to make them timeless.”

A big fan of Christmas, he’s been touring with his yuletide show since the beginning of the month – “you really can’t play Christmas music too early, maybe a few songs at the end of November” – and is building up to the big day with the show in Kitchener.

“The closer it gets, the more magical it can get,” he said of the music.

Following Moon’s shows, the cast and crew of Don’t Panic Productions will move into the theatre, preparing to stage A Christmas Carol, presenting the classic story with a twist, explained Liz Gagier: Actor and director Jack Babb’s adaptation is very much based on the traditional version, but with a bit more humour added in for good measure.

“We previewed this week at Suddaby School [in Kitchener], and they laughed at all the right places – the kids got it, so the adults should too,” she said with a laugh.

This version is set in the Victorian period and features all the characters set out in Dickens’ now-beloved story – from Jacob Marley right through to the three spirits of Christmas that visit Ebenezer Scrooge.

A cast of 14 young actors, ranging in age from eight to 17, bring the story to life, primed by the classic 1951 film version starring Alistair Sim, she noted.

“It’s just the thing for the holiday spirit.”

Once the big day has passed, on Dec. 27 the Registry will be the place where Fergus-based singer/songwriter Nonie Crete will be Coming Home – the concert to celebrate the album of that name.

There will be no Christmas music, she said. Instead, the performance will feature tracks from the new CD and favourites from the seven discs that preceded it.

“I’m happy to give them some new music – it’s all my music.”

With Coming Home, there are tracks with a Cajun flavour, some blues, some country, folk and a celtic feel at times.

“I always have a little bit of everything,” she explained.

The album takes its name from some songs, including the opening track “Home to Georgian Bay,” that draws on her roots in  Penetanguishene.

There’s also an ode to the rails-to-trails effort around Fergus and Elora, and one to the Grand River, bringing it closer to where she now calls home.

This concert, for which she’ll be joined by a variety of musical guests, has extra meaning, as it’s a rescheduled gig from one originally set for September. But that was before she suffered an aneurysm, which she was lucky to survive. Better yet, she’s doing well today and expected to make a full recovery – she’s already resumed much of her extensive performance schedule around the area.

“I’m almost back to who I was – I’m one of the 17 per cent who make it without any [lasting] problems,” Crete said.

On her Myspace page (www.myspace.com/noniecrete), she’s included a song, “Colours of Me” about the support she received after her medical emergency.

“This concert is a celebration of sorts. I’m thankful to still be in the game.”

Jacob Moon and the Welcome Christmas Orchestra present An Enchanted Evening of Carols & Holiday Songs Dec. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m.. Tickets are $20, available at The Gospel Lighthouse or at www.ticketwindow.ca., or $25 at the door.

A Christmas Carol will be performed Dec. 22 (2 and 7 p.m.) and Dec. 23 (7 p.m.). Tickets are just $5, available through the Centre In The Square (www.centre-square.com) or at the door.

Nonie Crete’s Coming Home concert is set for Dec. 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17.50 in advance, available at Shaw Music in Fergus, Elora General Store, 12th Night in Waterloo; $20 at the door.

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