It was a dark and stormy night. The wind whipped, rain obscured the windows and the dark sky was punctuated by bursts of brilliance from lightning strikes.
It was not the kind of night you want to be driving into Vancouver from Surrey for any reason, let alone for the opening night of a show for which you have left tickets at home. Rain-lashed and late, I did arrive at the Stanley Theatre in time for the opening of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, the Musical.
It was worth braving the weather and, believe me, the last thing I wanted at that time was to have a white Christmas. Snow does not belong in the city. Ever - except maybe on stage. Not really fond of driving in a storm either, but you have to admit that "a dark and stormy night" is a good line for the beginning of a story.
The Arts Club is bringing back White Christmas for the third year in a row. The previous years have had sold-out runs, and already there are seven sold-out performances this year. You may want to brave your own storm and book tickets for this year's production. It runs at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville St., at 12th Avenue) from Dec. 2-28. Some special show times are on the calendar; see artsclub.com. Tickets are $29 to $85, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the box office at 604-687-1644 for details.
Of course, you can find plenty of entertainment on this side of the river, too. The award-winning Westcoast Harmony Chorus presents A Capella Fusion! on Saturday, Nov. 26, a 7: 30 p.m. concert at Bell Performing Arts Centre (6250 144th St.).
Westcoast Harmony Chorus is the current regional champion and 2010 International Silver medalists in the world's largest women's choral organization, Sweet Adelines International. The chorus is directed by the world's youngest master director, Anne Marteniuk. Well, that's just impressive. Tickets are $25/$20. All seats are reserved, so book your tickets early (call 604-856-6200, email tickets@westcoastsings. com or go through PayPal at www. westcoastsings.com - VISA, Mastercard and AMEX accepted).
Surrey Symphony Society's annual Christmas concert is really special this year. First of all, it will be the first year that Lucille Lewis will not be at the helm of the Youth Orchestra. Dr. Rick Dorfer will man the baton for Surrey Youth Orchestra, Carla Birston conducts the Intermediate Strings and Erin van Kooten guides the Junior Strings. The concert is "The Snowman in a Musical Wonderland" and features live orchestral accompaniment for the animated classic, The Snowman. This will be a big-screen presentation, and as far as I recall is a first for the Symphony Society - making music for a movie.
"The Christmas season is a time that brings people together," Dorfer said. "It is with joy that we present a program that includes a masterwork like the Mendelssohn's 'Italian Symphony' while also bringing together the Junior Strings and the Youth Orchestra to present three English carols in Vaughan Williams' 'Fantasia on Christmas Carols.'"
The narrator at the beginning of the film refers to the day he built the snowman as being "magical," and that is the best word to describe the experience of seeing an orchestra of fine young people bring the score, and the snowman, to life.
"The kids are really excited about this concert," said symphony GM Anna Russell, "so they've been working really hard. And I call them 'kids' because I'm way older, but the rehearsals are sounding amazing - these are serious musicians. I can't wait to hear the performance."
This magical musical experience is at Chandos Pattison Auditorium (10238 168th St., Surrey), on Sunday, Dec. 4, a 7 p.m. start. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. It's a big theatre, so tickets will be available at the door or by phone (604-856-8947) or email (gm. email@example.com).
And there you have it: magical musical experiences just waiting for your participation. Stormy nights and snow not necessarily included.