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Surrey City Orchestra’s ‘Nutcracker’ to hit stage with dancers & singers as endowment fund grows

‘Surrey is the only city in Canada that lacks a professional orchestra, and we’d like to give it one,’ SCO president says
The Surrey City Orchestra-led performance of “The Nutcracker” in 2019 at Chandos Pattison Auditorium, where a similar music-dance production returns on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (Photo:

With a cultural twist, Surrey City Orchestra plans to stage another “Nutcracker” at Chandos Pattison Auditorium.

The Fraser Heights-area theatre is where musicians and dancers will bring Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet to life for one night only, on Saturday, Nov. 26. Show tickets range from $20 to 30 at the door, and online at

Pre-pandemic, in 2019, the orchestra filled the Chandos with a similar, family-friendly production of “The Nutcracker.”

This time around, the show will feature professional musicians alongside dancers from schools in Surrey, including Central Ballet Academy and Kvitka Ukrainian School of Dance, and guests from Vancouver’s Ammara Dance Company.

Also involved are young singers with the award-winning Surrey Children’s Choir, directed by Stephen Horning.

The seasonal favourite will be led by conductor Leslie Dala, known for his work with Vancouver Bach Choir, Vancouver Opera and The Goh Ballet. Choreography is directed by Tyra Sargeant, Larissa Trafananko and Lisa Jordan.


Leslie Dala will conduct “The Nutcracker” at Chandos Pattison Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (Photo:
Leslie Dala will conduct “The Nutcracker” at Chandos Pattison Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (Photo:

Surrey City Orchestra will perform an abridged, 90-minute version of Tchaikovsky’s score, a dance soundtrack for Snowflake, Mother Ginger and Sugar Plum Fairy and other familiar characters.

Show time is 7:30 p.m. at Chandos Pattison Auditorium, at Pacific Academy (10238 168 St., Surrey). For more details, visit or

Surrey City Orchestra’s inaugural season was in 2019-20, just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live performances of all kinds.

This month, fundraising initiatives are underway at SurreyCares Community Foundation to raise $50,000 in support of the Surrey City Orchestra endowment fund. The foundation and orchestra will apply for matching funds through the Canada Cultural Investment Fund Endowment Incentives Program, with a deadline of Nov. 28 for this wave of the campaign.

“Surrey is the only city in Canada that lacks a professional orchestra, and we’d like to give it one,” says Ellen Farrugia, president of the orchestra (SCO).

“A $50,000 initial endowment fund will support programs to bolster city culture and offer local professional musicians an opportunity to perform and teach in Surrey. We aim to support and attract up-and-coming artists and support city culture in a city with a young population (as) 25 per cent of Surrey’s population is under 19.”

The Surrey City Orchestra’s 30 permanent members currently play in churches and schools because they lack a permanent centre, notes a news release from SurreyCares Community Foundation. The orchestra’s long-term vision is to build an established arts institute based on the current professional orchestra model.


Stuart Martin, music director and conductor, has the vision to build an orchestra that plays classics like Bach and Haydn and reflects the city’s ethnically diverse and youthful demographic.

On the web, the endowment fund is posted on

Next month, Royal City Youth Ballet’s version of “The Nutcracker” will return to Surrey Arts Centre on the weekend of Dec. 10-11, for four shows. For details visit, or call 604-501-5566.

That same weekend, Ballet BC will welcome Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage in Vancouver with an “iconic, distinctly Canadian retelling” of “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 9-11. Tickets start at $25 at

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet is set on Christmas Eve at Clara’s home, where her parents are hosting a party. After Clara’s grand-uncle, Herr Drosselmeyer, presents her with an enchanted Nutcracker toy soldier and the party ends, Clara falls asleep – and dreams.

“In her dream, her Nutcracker soldier fights a battle and transports her on a sleigh through the Land of Snow to the Land of Sweets, where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and people from far-away lands,” says a post on the website.

“The ballet closes as Drosselmeyer brings Clara back from her dream, still cradling her Nutcracker soldier and treasuring her wonderful dream.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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