Contributed photo Jason Buie and his Blues Band are the attraction New Years Eve for the White Rock Blues Society at Pacific Inn Hotel.

The Scene

Arts and entertainment on the Semiahmoo Peninsula with Alex Browne

A Touch of Brass

Christmas-themed classical selections, popular favourites – and maybe even a little jazz – will be on the musical menu when the internationally-renowned brass quintet A Touch Of Brass returns to Mount Olive Lutheran Church for a Christmas concert Saturday, Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

It’s the first time in six years the South Surrey-based group – all members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, and all experts in their field in high demand for both recitals and educational clinics – have scheduled a Christmas concert at the church, located at 2350 148 St.

Tom Shorthouse and Jim Littleford (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn piccolo trumpet), Nick Anderson (French horn) and Jeremy Berkman (trombone) join group co-founder David Sabourin (tuba), also well-known as the owner of the White Rock-based Tapestry Music chain.

The quintet has two CDs available: Stolen Moments – an eclectic mix of jazz and concert classics – and a Christmas album, December, featuring fresh arrangements of Christmas classics by Canadian composers and arrangers.

Tickets for the concert ($24, students/seniors 65+ $18, children 12 and under $5) are available at Tapestry Music, 1335 Johnston Rd., and at the door.

Blues New Year

Hurry to get your tickets for the White Rock Blues Society’s popular New Year’s Eve celebration, this year featuring the Jason Buie Blues Band.

The seventh annual event is very close to selling out at its usual venue, the Rhumba Room at the Pacific Inn Hotel, 1160 King George Blvd. (recently acquired by Hilton Hotels).

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, with a Southern BBQ buffet at 8:30 followed by the show, in which the esteemed guitarist/vocalist and artistic director for the society will feature selections from his newest CD, Driftin’ Heart.

Also included are party favours and champagne at midnight.

Tickets ($79) are available from www.brownpapertickets.com or 604-542-6515.

Handel Society

The last hurrah for the magnificent acoustics of White Rock’s First United Church – before it is demolished to make way for new development on the site – will be an appropriate one.

The church (at 15385 Semiahmoo Ave.) has been selected as the venue for for this year’s Handel Society of Music’s Christmas concert – a performance of Handel’s 1742 masterwork Messiah with full chorus and orchestra under the baton of society artistic director Johan Louwersheimer, Saturday, Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

The performance will include four excellent guest soloists well-known to Peninsula audiences: Debra Da Vaughn (soprano), Megan Latham (alto), Christopher Simmons (tenor) and Andrew Greenwood (baritone).

Tickets ($25, seniors/students $20, children under 16 free) are available at door.

For more information, visit handelsociety.ca or phone 604 583 5879.

The non-profit society is celebrating its 51st year of music this season.

Based in Surrey and White Rock, the singers perform Baroque-era works and other choral compositions with orchestra.

Rehearsals are held Tuesday evenings from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at a new location: Cloverdale Canadian Reformed Church, 17473 60 Ave.

For more information on becoming a member, call 604-202-7801.

WRPC Hunchback

The White Rock Players Club’s panto-ized version of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame – The Hunchback of Notre Panto runs until Dec. 30 at Coast Capital Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd.

Directed by Alex Lowe and Anne-Marie Zak from an original script by White Rock panto veteran Dave Baron, it’s a Roaring ’20s take on the medieval tale of Quasimodo, the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame cathedral (Ben Pilger) and his evil protector Cardinal Frollo (Kelly Thompson), which poses a timeless question – just what makes us human and what makes us monstrous?

Of course, there’s plenty of typical panto fun along the way, including an over-the-top dame, La Belle Chantefleure (Bryce Paul Mills), young poet Pierre Bonhomme (Samantha Silver), the beautiful Esmerelda (Juliana Peralta), Shenanigans the giraffe – White Rock’s patented variation on the panto animal – and plenty of topical White Rock references and a roundup of the year’s events in the traditional dame-comedian duet The Wonderful Year We Fell In Love.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m., with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Boxing Day (Dec. 26).

For tickets ($22, $15 children 12 and under), call 604-536-7535, or visit whiterockplayers.ca

Sinbad panto

Ellie King’s latest panto for her Royal Canadian Theatre Society is Sinbad, The Pirates and The Dinosaur playing at Surrey Arts Centre, Dec. 14-26.

The show brings back all the zany fun, song and dance of traditional British pantomime, and features favourite ‘Dame’ Alan Cedargreen donning the wig, dress and greasepaint for one last time. Also featured are Jackie Bruce, Kerri Norris, Stephen Elchesen and James King.

Tickets are available from 604-501-5566 or rctheatreco.com

Blue Frog

Christmas-themed shows continue through December at White Rock’s intimate 100-seat concert venue, Blue Frog Studios (1328 Johnston Rd.).

On Saturday, Dec. 16 (8 p.m.), A Very Muddy Christmas Dance will present local favourites the Mud Bay Blues Band’s blend of Chicago blues, country, cajun, rock and soul.

Visit bluefrogstudios.ca

Traditional jazz

White Rock Traditional Jazz Society’s regular Sunday 2-5 p.m. drop in sessions of live Dixieland and swing music for dancing at the Crescent Legion Branch’s Club 240 will be on holiday hiatus Dec. 24 and Dec 31.

The society’s Christmas Party – featuring the dynamic dance music of drummer/leader Scott Robertson’s Swing Patrol – is this Sunday (Dec. 17) but to ensure tickets, call 604-241-0290.

The regular band program will resume Jan. 7 with the Square Pegs Jazzy Band, followed by the Butter & Egg Jazz Band (Jan. 14), Gerry Green’s Crescent City Jazzers (Jan. 21) and the Maple Leaf Jazz Band (Jan. 28).

The venue is at 2643 128 St.

Usual Sunday admission is $10 at the door (WRTJS members), $12 (non members) and $6 (students with ID).

Pacific Showtime

The Pacific Showtime Men’s Chorus is a male voice harmony group of kindred spirits who love to sing, laugh it up and indulge their hammier instincts in annual musical productions, under the guidance of their director, keyboardist, writer and arranger, Jonathan Wiltse.

The group, which rehearses Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s Church, 12953 20 Ave., continues to seek new members.

Singers are invited to attend rehearsals and, hopefully, join in.

For more, call 604-536-5292 or email leighand@shaw.ca

Kwantlen concerts

Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s ongoing series of KPU Music Faculty Showcase concerts at the Langley campus all have a White Rock-South Surrey angle.

The season continues Jan. 19 with the internationally-acclaimed Borealis String Quartet (featuring Ocean Park’s Yuel Yawney).

As artists-in-residence, the Borealis quartet will again share their intense style of music-making with their audience.

The season wraps up on March 2 with CDelebration – an eclectic concert combining KPU jazz and classical performers and guests, and celebrating 25 years of music instruction at KPU. The evening will mark the official release of three new CDs, including Sun Songs by bassist (and well-known Semiahmoo Secondary alumnus) Jodi Proznick, and CDs featuring KPU’s Julia Nolan, saxophone, and Jane Hayes, piano (with violinist Joan Blackman and clarinetist Francois Houle).

All concerts are held in the KPU Langley auditorium, 20901 Langley Bypass.

Concerts begin at 7:30 pm.

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