Briercrest enjoys a successful weekend of Christmas Celebration

Julie Cole | Dec 3, 2012
Ebenezer Scrooge (Joseph Wilson) is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley (Brenden Friesen). Photo by Fiona Graham Ebenezer Scrooge (Joseph Wilson) is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley (Brenden Friesen). Photo by Fiona GrahamEbenezer Scrooge (Joseph Wilson) is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley (Brenden Friesen). Photo by Fiona Graham
Ebenezer Scrooge (Joseph Wilson) is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley (Brenden Friesen). Photo by Fiona Graham Ebenezer Scrooge (Joseph Wilson) is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley (Brenden Friesen). Photo by Fiona GrahamScott Finch directs the combined ensembles in the choral concert. Photo by Fiona Graham

There was only one Scrooge at the Christmas Celebration at Briercrest College and Seminary this weekend – and he was on stage.

The rest of the crowd of 3,700 people who attended the productions of A Christmas Carol and the choral concert Redeeming Light seemed to be full of Christmas spirit.

“There was a vibrant, lively buzz during intermission,” Briercrest’s core event coordinator Jennifer Isaak said. “People were happy they could still get tickets at the door.”

The good feelings of the evening also showed up in the cast and crew.

“The kids did very well,” assistant professor of music and worship arts Scott Finch said. “They sang from their heart.”

The 75 minute choral concert featured many different styles of Christmas music.

“I think (the audience) enjoyed the variety of literature that was prepared,” Finch said. “There was high classical, like the Hallelujah Chorus to the Patipan Salsa which is very colourful.”

Finch, who is most always on stage as the director, sang in one of the featured performances this year.

“Ron (de Jager) convinced me to sing O Holy Night in a trio with him and Brett Mitchell,” he said.

De Jager, the artistic director for the weekend’s productions was especially pleased with the play performances of Joseph Wilson and Brendan Friesen who played Scrooge and Marley.

“(Scrooge) is basically onstage for the entire  two hours,” he explained. “I think it’s remarkable that Joseph can keep that character and also has the memory to engage for that long of a period of time, Watching Marley when he first arrived on the stage was unique for the crowd – not just the strangeness of his character,  but the sound of Brendan’s voice as he projected it.”

The artistic director believes there’s a key message in Dicken’s play.

“As we think about our own lives and what we’ve done in the past and present and what we can actually do to influence the future – I think that’s something the crowd took away with them,” he said.

Finch and de Jager don’t have long to rest in the successes of the weekend’s performances.  They have to hit the ground running for events that are happening right away.

“It’s always good to have a chapter closing, but Resonant is getting ready to do their work with the Halcyon Chamber Choir in Regina this week,” Finch said. “Then I switch gears to Brahms Requiem for April 2013.”

“I probably have a day to get my sanity back,” de Jager exclaimed. “I have another performance this week with the vocal masters’ class.”

De Jager doesn’t mind the hectic pace.

“I thrive on this,” he said. “It makes me very excited and I don’t feel really stressed. It’s nice to finish something – It’s said, but it’s wonderful to think of the new possibilities as you move on.

Part of those new possibilities is planning for next year’s Christmas Celebration which is already in the early planning stages.

“Next year we are looking at probably tying it into a full musical again, so we’ll have the drama and probably choir and singing as well.

More photos of the weekend's performances can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Briercrest#!/media/set/?set=a.10151292383921475.435486.180959131474&type=1