Brenda’s Brats may bring The Grinch with them to their two Christmas variety shows. (Submitted)

Column with VIDEO: The approaching holiday season means music, music, music

From fun variety shows to the formal beauty of traditional carols, enjoy it all at these concerts

Brentwood College’s Phil Newns reminded us this week that tis’ the season for music.

First up is his Grade 8 class’s production of The Lion King Jr.

“With music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, and with huge hits such as ‘Circle of Life’, ‘Hakuna Matata’ and ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’, you are bound to find yourself tapping your toes and singing along with the cast,” he says.

The show is open to the public on Friday, Nov. 24 in the T. Gil Bunch Theatre starting at 7 p.m.

Next up at Brentwood is the popular Concert for a Winter’s Eve Thursday and Friday, Dec. 7-8 at 7:30 both nights.

“Included in our show will be our dancers, vocal ensembles, wind and string ensembles, jazz band, guitar ensemble, and one of our talented rock bands. In addition, some featured vocalists and instrumentalists will share the stage with our professional house band in a variety of musical genres.”

This showcase is also at the Bunch Theatre. It’s in support of the CMS Food Bank. Tickets are $10 (festival seating) for each of the shows. You can book online at or call the box office at 250-743-8756.


Karin Simons also popped up by the back fence this week with a note: Brenda’s Brats are back again, offering two old fashioned Christmas shows for the whole family.

The Mill Bay Christmas Variety Show takes place Sunday, Dec. 3, from 6:30–8 p.m. at the Mill Bay Community League Hall (next to Kerry Park Arena).

“Entry is by donation to our local food bank. Come see Huckleberry Holler, Freedom Gospel Choir, Lesley Ridenour, Cowichan Camerata, Ken Hiles, Tavion Caldwell, Ronen Segall, Kevin and Rose Phillips and Brenda’s Brats. There’s a nasty rumour The Grinch may be dropping in! Lots of free parking and refreshments will be served,” she says.

However, Simons does not mention that this is a small venue and it’s always packed for this show. Get there early if you don’t want to stand.

On Sunday, Dec. 10, families can enjoy the Cobble Hill Christmas Variety Show from 2 to 4 p.m. at Cobble Hill Hall.

Again, Simons is enthusiastic. “The show will lift your hearts with holiday spirit,” she says.

Enjoy Huckleberry Holler, Freedom Gospel Choir, Ken Hiles, Rose and Kevin Phillips, Ronen Segall, Elissa Barron and more. Brenda’s Brats and the Cowichan Camerata will be performing ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ for orchestra and choir under the direction of Garth Williams, too.

Again, the Grinch may make an appearance, so watch for him. Admission is by donation to the local food bank or non-perishable items and refreshments will be served.


Another great group with a pair of concerts on the way is the award-winning Encore! Women’s Choir. They are back with their 10th annual Christmas Concert, Dec. 9, at St. Edward’s Catholic Church starting at 1:30 p.m.

Choir member Lara Nowlan shared the news release.

“Music Director Christine Dandy, along with her 23 singers, and their outstanding pianist Rykie Avenant, combine past favourites with new and challenging pieces, exposing the amazing sound and musical diversity that this choir can achieve.”

That’s the long way of saying these gals are good, and they are.

Traditional songs, classics, pop songs, a spiritual, and even a little ‘Something New’, the latest composition by resident composer, Deborah Sumner, are on offer.

A thoughtfully planned program offers everything from serious and spiritual to downright fun in what the group calls “an afternoon of virtuosity and enchantment”. Advance tickets are $15 each or $5 for children under 12. Tickets at the door will cost you $20, so get them now. Tickets are available from choir members, Volume One Books, online at, or by calling 250-715-1568.

Meanwhile, Marion Priestly is also chiming in about that choir as Chemainus Classical Concerts presents An Encore! Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m, at Chemainus United Church.

Directed by Christine Dandy, with accompaniment by Rykie Avenant, the group’s awards include Best Choral Performance of the Festival in Victoria in 2015 — the highest accolade a choir can receive at that festival.

Priestley reminds everyone: “Please note that the venue for this concert is the Chemainus United Church.”

Tickets are $17 in advance. Check outlets on

At the door, they will cost you $20. Music lovers under 18 get in for $5 each.


Encore! Women’s Choir are giving Valley music lovers two chances to join them for some great Christmas music. (Submitted)

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