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A&E column: Some Christmas favourites hit the stage in Cowichan

2 musical shows, 2 art exhibits

We’ve got some great Christmas entertainment coming up in the Cowichan Valley in the weeks ahead.

First is a Christmas classic, as the Cowichan Consort Orchestra and Choir presents holiday favourite Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 3.

The Messiah will feature four soloists and the Consort’s new conductor Nathan Jacklin.

“Well known to many, singers soprano Andrea Rodall and tenor Ted Rhodes, both of Duncan, will be joined by Julia Morgan alto, and Nathan McDonald bass-baritone both of Victoria,” said Joy Ann Bannerman in a press release for the show. “All four have sung with the Consort before and we look forward to presenting this oratorio after COVID-19 took away our live performances.”

For the uninitiated, this piece has a long history.

Messiah is remarkable in many ways, not the least for the fact that it was written by Handel in only three weeks,” said Bannerman. “It was first performed in Dublin in 1742 where it received instant acclaim. The first British performance, at the Covent Garden Theatre, took place the following year, where it was given a rather cool initial reception. Thereafter, however, it was fallen upon rapturously by an adoring public and performed almost as a sacred rite.”

The Consort’s first performance of the piece was in 1995, and the choir was formed for the specific purpose of performing the Messiah.

“The rousing ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, when the audience stands to listen, was initiated by the King George II, standing up as he was so moved by the glorious music. The audience immediately rose to their feet and so this tradition has continued in every performance since.”

The show takes place at the Christian Reformed Church, 930 Trunk Rd., Duncan, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20, and can be purchased at Volume One Books in Duncan, from Consort members, or at the door (cash only).


A totally different Christmas community favourite takes place on Sunday, Dec. 4.

The Cobble Hill Christmas Variety Show takes over Cobble Hill Hall from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Entry to the show is by donation to the food bank.

“Come and see some great local talent!” says a press release for the show.

There is free parking and refreshments, and masks are strongly recommended. Seating is limited.

This is the eighth annual event, produced by Brenda’s Brats and sponsored by the Cobble Hill Farmers Institute.

Some of the performers are the aforementioned Brenda’s Brats, Ken Hiles, Jaclyn Childs, Homemade Jam, Ukes Misbehavin and more.


The Cowichan Valley Arts Council’s galleries are busy this holiday season too.

Up now until Nov. 28 is a special show featuring the works of the folks who hang all the art in the gallery.

The show is appropriately called Friends Met at a Hanging, and features the works of Pauline Dueck, Will Banman, Cam Russell, Diana Batchelor and Dennis B. Del Torre.

Dueck paints realistic whimsical animals and dramatic florals in bright colours, Banman turns found objects into art, Russell is a woodworker, Batchelor paints with acrylics, and Del Torre assembles “forgotten and forlorn flotsam and jetsam”.

Eclectic, for sure. Enjoy it all at the CVAC Annex.


Then, from Dec. 1 to 16, the next show at the CVAC Annex is The Beholder’s Share.

The show features the work of Shannon Wardoper, a textile artist.

“It is the viewer who finishes off the piece, closing the communication loop. The art becomes an artist-viewer collaboration,” Wardroper said in a press release for the show.

There will be original two dimensional printed, dyed and stitched textiles and paper, but the focus of the show will be large-scale folded textile sculptures inspired by the “choice versus chance” children’s game. It’s an idea that can also be applied to the environmental world, according to Wardroper.

“It is our engagement with our natural world and the paths we mindfully choose that will determine our outcome,” she said.

Wardroper, from Salt Spring Island, has quite a resume, with degrees from Alberta College of Art and Emily Carr College of Art. Her textiles have been exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show and the Museum of Garden History in London.

Andrea Rondeau

About the Author: Andrea Rondeau

I returned to B.C. and found myself at the Cowichan Valley Citizen.
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