October 31st, 2020

An abundance of holiday entertainment

By Mabell, Dave on December 14, 2019.

For 30 years, New West Theatre has been entertaining southern Albertans with its unique blend of music and mirth.

That’s quite an accomplishment – a cause for “Celebration.” And that’s the focus of New West’s holiday show this year, opening Wednesday.

“This show is a tribute from our family to yours,” the performers say, celebrating the support Lethbridge and area audiences have provided year after year.

The anniversary special show will feature energy-packed music and choreographed dance as usual.

“But most important, there will be laughing – the loud and belly kind,” its advance notice promises.

“Celebration” will run from next Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with subsequent performances on Dec. 23 and then a 1 p.m. matinee on Boxing Day in addition to the evening show.

Performances will continue with evening shows on Dec. 27, 28 and 30, plus matinees on Dec. 28 and 29.

A special New Year’s Eve performance starting at 7 p.m. will include some bubbly to complement the production’s vibrant art deco set.

Then the run will conclude with evening shows, 7:30 p.m. from Jan. 2 to 4 plus a 1 p.m. matinee on the final day.

And meanwhile, New West’s holiday show for young audiences, “The Legend of the Lost Tooth” will offer 11 afternoon performances from Dec. 21 to Jan. 4 – except for Dec. 24, 25, 29 and Jan 1. Watch for more details.

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Seasonal activities at the Galt Museum this month will include a family presentation on holiday cards – at 1 p.m. today – and a “party crackers” event at the same time next Saturday.

Down at Fort Whoop-Up, meanwhile, Galt staff will play host at a “winter open house” on Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. Visitors will be invited to watch a blacksmith working the forge, take a wagon ride, help decorate a “tumbleweed tree” and enjoy hot chocolate with “s’mores.”

Admission will be free, but children must be accompanied by adults.

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For more activities in our river valley, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre will be offering a “story walk” experience, starting Thursday. Families will be encouraged to enjoy reading about the natural world at their leisure, as they walk along the Nature Quest Trail.

“Owl Moon,” written by Jane Yolen, will be the featured book.

A new “Energize” exhibit will open Tuesday, and the centre is also planning holiday programs for children on a drop-in basis, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 27 and 30, Jan. 2 and 3.

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And for all who enjoy outdoor adventure, the annual mountain film festival at Banff has become a major attraction. Fortunately the festival organization takes some of the most popular selections on the road each winter.

And for the 18th year, it’s offering three presentations early next month at the Yates Centre. In partnership with the Lethbridge Public Library, they’ll be sharing some of that excitement on Jan. 9, 10 and 11.

“This year’s program celebrates stories told through the eyes of artists from around the globe, highlighting exciting adventures and remote journeys,” says local event organizer Sheila Braund.

Tickets – priced at $20 per night, or $50 for all three – are available at the downtown library. And prices are reduced for seniors and children under 12.

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And here are some last-minute suggestions for the next few days:

Today and Sunday, the annual Festival of Nativities continues at the LDS chapel near the Enmax Centre. Hours today will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., then 2 to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Local choirs perform each day, and admission is free.

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This Sunday and Monday, audience members are invited to share the spirit of the season while attending this year’s performances of Handel’s celebrated “The Messiah.” During intermission, they’ll be invited to donate “Toonies for Turkeys” which will be distributed shortly by the city’s food banks.

Guest conductor Marvin Dueck will lead the Chinook Chamber Singers, four soloists and musicians of the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra during a 3 p.m. presentation Sunday at Southminster United, and a 7:30 p.m. performance on Monday.

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Students from three Lethbridge middle schools – G.S. Lakie, Gilbert Paterson and Wilson – are collaborating to present “Rockin’ for the Red Cross” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Popular music bands from each school will be featured during the concert at Lakie Middle School on Blackfoot Road West. As well as raising funds for the Red Cross, it’s aimed at raising awareness of Lethbridge music educators’ innovative programs for middle school grades. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5.

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And a further treat: Songs and stories from Shakespeare’s pen will be shared Friday at Casa, along with a “readers’ theatre” retelling of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as created by longtime University of Lethbridge drama professor Richard Epp.

The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society will also serve such Tudor treats as mulled wine, mince pies, eggnog and gingerbread. Tickets ($20) are available at Casa, and audience members are encouraged to dress in Victorian or Tudor style.

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And the Winter Light Festival continues each Thursday to Saturday at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, with gates open from 6 to 9 p.m. and extra openings on Dec. 22, 23 and 31.

In severe weather, however, the garden will not open if the evening temperature will be dropping below -25 C. Family admission prices are offered with hot chocolate and snacks available, as well as horse-drawn wagon rides some evenings.

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