Brainerd Community Theatre to host community holiday talent show
The show features the talents of many different community groups and individuals of varying ages and will be streamed free and on-demand from Dec. 18-Jan. 1
Drawing on a holiday tradition from more than 20 years ago, Brainerd Community Theatre will present “Home for the Holidays,” a holiday variety show featuring the talents of local performers. The show will be streamed free and on-demand beginning Friday, Dec. 18, and continuing through New Year’s Day.
Theater Director Patrick Spradlin traced the show’s origins to an annual event the theater produced in the late 1980s through the mid-'90s called “Yuletide Revelry.”
“My late colleague Dennis Lamberson produced this show every Christmas season, using local singers and dancers in a big extravaganza stage show,” Spradlin said in a news release. “We looked at our season during the pandemic and decided that with all that has happened, this was a tradition worth reviving.”
The company put out a call to the community soliciting talent for the show.
“The response was terrific,” Spradlin said. “We offered people the opportunity to either come to our Chalberg stage to video their performance or submit home-produced videos. We got a mix of both, from people of all ages and with a wide variety of holiday themed performances.”
Spradlin noted that his theater team was excited by the project and jumped in to make it happen.
“Our technical director, George Marsolek, took the reins on this immediately. He gathered possible participants, built scenic pieces for a background and scheduled all the video shoots. He made this happen,” Spradlin said.
Theater technician Curtis Jendro provided the audio and video support.
“Curtis is invaluable to our program, and he has spent many hours recording, editing and producing the final product. It really is top-notch work," Spradlin said.
The show features the talents of many different community groups and individuals of varying ages. Among the younger performers are Isabel Pence, 10, playing guitar and singing “Winter Wonderland.”
Rosalie Flynn, 8, submitted a home recording, playing a violin rendition of “Joy to the World” and featuring her father on guitar. Ireland Heap, a second grader, offered her version of “All I Want for Christmas is You,” while 2-year-old Juniper Marsolek performed a spirited rendition of “Jingle Bells” with her mother, Laura.
Adult performers include Rebecca Timmins singing “The Christmas Song,” Mary Aalgaard and Zach Rude’s home recording of “Gesu Bambino,” Sarah Gorham’s piano rendition of “Christmas Time is Here” and Lizzy Buscher’s hula hoop routine set to “What Will Santa Claus Say?”
Retired Central Lakes College music instructor Steve Anderson lent his talents to the show. He accompanied current CLC vocal instructor Sarah Aamot singing “Toyland,” and appears with Izzy Armstrong performing a jazz version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” In addition, Anderson recites in his patented “Fairy Fales” style the immortal holiday poem “The Cripe Before Nipness.”
Local ensembles are also an integral part of the holiday show. Members of the Legacy Chorale are featured in “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Tuba Christmas performs “Jingle Bells” and “Tuba Christmas Fanfare.” The Music General Dancers are featured in two numbers: “Christmas Why Can’t I Find You?” and the dancers’ dads in a spirited version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
Under the direction of current CLC music instructor Jonathan LaFlamme are three ensembles performing various holiday numbers: the Central Lakes Brass Ensemble, the Central Lakes Jazz Orchestra and the Lakes Jazz Authority.
Spradlin and local actress Maren Goff Martin host the show.
“We produced this as a gift to our patrons, and to the entire community,” Spradlin said. “That’s why the show is free and on demand during this two-week period. We’re also using the event as a fundraiser. We ask that anyone so inclined make a contribution to the theatre program to help us keep producing work like this.”
A donation link will appear on the YouTube page with the video of the show. Patrons can access the link beginning Dec. 18 on the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center’s website at clcperformingarts.com . Donations can also be made by visiting the website.
“We wish we could have produced this live and in front of an audience seated in the Chalberg,” Spradlin said. “However, we hope this is something that can be shared with people in the area and anywhere in the world.”