The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center is again welcoming the holidays with more than a month of family activities, concerts, holiday crafts and Christmas trees.
This weekend marks the kickoff to the 31st Annual Festival of Trees from Nov. 22-29 in the Hubbard Ballroom, bringing back tree displays, gift shop, children’s activities and more. Saturday night’s black tie-optional silent-auction preview party gala was sold out, but another preview party Sunday afternoon will not only be offering admission to the Festival of trees, but also kick off the annual the Padzieski Art Gallery’s International Holiday Boutique.
The Festival of Trees publicly displays professionally-designed seven-foot and four-foot holiday trees, tabletop trees, and wreaths and other holiday gift-shop items are sold to raise funds for pediatric research. Visitors will enjoy “how-to” sessions featuring bow-making, tree decorating, life-like tree shaping.
Thousands are expected to patronize this Michigan holiday tradition daily, starting at 2 p.m. Sunday and through to the following Sunday (the event is closed on Thanksgiving Day), paying for general-admission tickets at the door for $5 (children are $3 and infants age two and under are free). Festival of Trees Director Theresa Diefenbach said this year’s festival will be highlighted by its very first-ever Military Appreciation Day. On Tuesday, active and non-active personnel in the service will be admitted free (if they present proper credentials).
The daily schedule will be 2-7 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday (English Gardens will be there from 1-4 p.m.), 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday before closing with a 10 a.m.-4 p.m final day. The Festival of Trees will also have giveaways, children’s activities, Santa and more. For more information on the event call (248) 336-2331, email email@example.com, or visit www.fot.org.
The Dearborn Community Arts Council will kick off the Nov. 22-Dec. 18 Padzieski Art Gallery’s International Holiday Boutique with its annual Preview p”ART”y fundraiser from 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Besides admission to the Hubbard Ballroom for the Festival of Trees, the preview party fundraiser will offer a first look at the artistic gift offerings (with special 20-percent discounts on purchases), live music by pianist Jake LaValley, silent auction with mystery raffles drawing (many available auction items are listed on the Dearborn Community Arts Council website), and food and desserts from area restaurants served in Studio A on the main floor.
The $20 tickets can be purchased through PayPal at dcacarts.org, or at the door (all proceeds from Preview p”ART”y goes to benefit program services of more than 45 local arts and cultural groups). The International Holiday Boutique can be seen during gallery hours, noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and on select weekends. For more information on this prelude to the 2015 holiday season, contact Dearborn Community Arts Council Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or (313) 943-3095.
Another Christmas tree event will be Dec. 7. The Christmas Treelighting and Sing-along will take place at The Ford Community & Performing Art Center’s theater entrance from 6-9:30 p.m.
The outside ceremonial lighting of the city’s Christmas tree at 6:35 p.m. will mark the start of the holiday season in Dearborn, before moving into the Michael A. Guido Theater. After a sing-along of the traditional songs of the season with local school choirs and band, light refreshments will be available in the lobby.
Guests will enjoy entertainment by the Dearborn Youth Symphony String Quartet at 6 p.m. in the lobby. The sing-along begins in the Guido Theater at 7 p.m. with the Dearborn Youth Symphony Quartet, along with the Dearborn Public Schools Elementary and Secondary Honor Choirs.
The Christmas sing-along will include holiday standards such as “Here Comes Santa Claus Right Down Santa Claus Lane,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” There will also be a visit with Santa Claus. Everyone is welcome, for more information call (313) 943-2354.
More trees have been set up by Dearborn Senior Services in The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center. The Giving Tree will join the Mitten Tree in the Dearborn Senior Center office this year.
Any new unwrapped toy put under The Giving Tree will be delivered to the Dearborn Firefighters Burn Drive for distribution this holiday season, and any leftover toys will be given to distressed children who lose their toys due to a house fire or other disaster in the coming year. No deadline for bringing toys to the senior office has been announced yet.
People are also invited to warm the fingers and toes of Dearborn’s school children by bringing new (or handmade) mittens, scarves, hats or socks to the senior center office decorate the Mitten Tree. The deadline for accepting donations is Dec. 18, and the donations will then be presented to Dearborn schools (which ones will depend where the need is). Contact (313) 943-2412 for more information on these trees and their donation programs..
Other December holiday events taking place in the Guido Theater will be “The Nutcracker” Dec. 4-5, the Dearborn Holiday Choral Festival Dec. 12, “Sounds of the Season” Dec. 13, and the “Motown Nutcracker” Dec. 20.
The 8 Friday and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m, Saturday performances of the timeless Yuletide fantasy,features the Ballet Americana Dance Company, principle dancers from the Miami City Ballet, and the accompaniment of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Civic Orchestra. The entire family can enter this world of snowflakes and sugarplums, a magic prince, a dreamy young girl, a mysterious old man, and a magic Christmas tree that grows sky high. Ticket prices for the Nutcracker start at $20, and are available by calling (313) 943-2354 or visitingdearborntheater.com.
Celebrate the season with songs in the Dec. 12 Holiday Choral Festival. Dearborn Community Chorus with Director Marcus LaPratt and Vanguard Voices with Director G. Kevin Dewey present their annual Holiday event at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Cherry Hill Consort, a recorder ensemble, will perform in the lobby from 6:15-6:45 p.m. Recorders are woodwind instruments, and ensembles perform Renaissance consort music, frequently collaborating with players of other Renaissance instruments or with performances of Baroque ensembles.
The songs of the season performed by the Dearborn Community Chorus will include “The Very Best Time of the Year” by John Rutter, “Three Jazzy Bell Carols” by Jay Rouse, and “Hallelujah” from “Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration.” Christmas choral classics presented by Vanguard Voices will include “”O Magnum Mysterium,” by Tomas Luis de Victoria, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” by Michael Praetorius and “In Dulci Jubilo” by Robert Lucas Pearsall.
The combined choirs, joined by harpist Sylvia LaPratt, will perform “A Ceremony of Carols.” Theater Manager Martin Zbosnik said that this 20th-century work of Benjamin Britten is sung in modern English, though it is set to texts from the 14th through 16th Centuries.
Audience members are invited to a cider-and-cookies reception immediately following the concert. The Holiday Choral Festival receives support from the Dearborn Community Fund, and the Dearborn Community Chorus and Vanguard Voices are sponsored by the Dearborn Recreation & Parks Department.
Seating is reserved with tickets $18, $15 and $11 (student discount available in Balcony B only at $6). Contact the Guido Theater Box Office for more information and to purchase discount tickets.
Motor City Brass Band presents at 3 p.m. Sunday their annual holiday concert “Sounds of the Season.’ Michigan’s first competitive British style brass band welcomes the holiday season Dec.13 with an afternoon of brass band music under the direction of Craig Strain, boasting “This energetic and seasonal program would even put scrooge in the holiday spirit!”
The theme of this year’s program is to pay tribute to the Red Kettles, according to Motor City Brass Band Development Committee Chairman Stewart Hay.
“It’s pretty nice,” Hay said. “It’s the same formation (as Salvation Army bands), small ensembles from one to another, I think right to the finale.”
The program will kick off the concert with a brief and brilliant fanfare “Christmas Flourishes” by Darrol Barry. The band will then play the 14th Century hymn tune “Quem Pastores Laudevere,” celebrating the Christmas story, particularly from Angel Gabriel’s visit all the way to the Shepherds (the tune has since been set to different texts in different countries). Peter Graham’s “Shine as the Light” in essence depicts the journey from darkness to light, the extended climax commencing with a section of random music by cornets and bells, and the lower brass repeating the phrase “light me” three times before it metamorphasizes into majestic praise “no more we walk in darkness, the light has come.”
William Gordon, “a giant of The Salvation Army Composers,” will have his “The Sounding Joy” performed (a rhythmic treatment of “Joy to the World” and “Good Christian Men Rejoice”), and then Toby Kmet will perform a tuba solo of “Oh Holy Night.” The band will conclude with “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Christmas Time Is Here” and “Winter Wonderland” before intermission.
Resuming with the Motor City Brass Band tribute to the work done by the Bell Ringers of the Salvation Army, the band will perform “Caribbean Christmas” (toe-tapping arrangement by Sandy Smith of “Mary’s Boy Child,” “I Said the Donkey,” “De Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” and “Mary Had a Baby”), “The Coventry Carol” (Ian Bartram’s arrangement of a 16th Century traditional carol referring to the Massacre of the Innocents, in the form of a lullaby sung by mothers of the doomed children), and Peter Graham’s “The Spirit of Christmas” (This energized setting of familiar carols is certain to bring a smile to your face).
The concert will conclude with “The Glory of Christmas,” in which the audience can sing along with William Gordon’s arrangement of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Away in a Manger,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World.”
The Motor City Youth Brass will be performing more holiday-themed music in the theater lobby prior to the concert, and during intermission. For more information, visit mcbb.org or call (248) 788-6618.
All seats are General Admission $19 (student and senior discounts available by calling The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center Box Office at 313-943-2354). Children age 12 & under are free. Call the Motor City Brass Band hotline at (248) 788-6618 for group rates and regular tickets of $14 ($12 for seniors and $10 for students).
Another Nutcracker will come to the Guido Theater in 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday performances. The Legacy Dance Studio, LLC in Southfield will present its Fourth Annual Motown Nutcracker. For tickets and more information on the Dec. 20 event, go to http://www.legacydancefranklin.com/.
The Dearborn Senior Center will put on a couple of holiday activities in December. The Dec. 5 “Making Memories” will be an intergenerational program for seniors and children age 10 and younger at The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center.
Seniors can spend 2-4 p.m. in quality time with a favorite child, and enjoy a holiday craft and story time, and a light snack. The charge is $6 for each senior Dearborn resident and child ($8 for a non-resident and child), with another $1 charge for each additional senior or child in a group.
Registration for Making Memories has to returned with a check or money order payable to the City of Dearborn no later than Nov. 30. Mail the registration form to Recreation Department-Senior Services, 15801 Michigan, Dearborn, MI, 48126. For more information on Dearborn Senior Center activities, call (313) 943-2412.
Movie Day on Dec. 9 will present Christmas with the Kranks in the senior lounge. Finally alone for the holidays, Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) plan to escape the Christmas traditions and take a Caribbean cruise instead, but things take a funny turn in this humorous holiday movie. Register at (313) 943-2412 (while there is no charge, please bring a snack to share).
All ages will be welcome at the Holiday Craft Days which the Dearborn Recreation & Parks Department will be holding Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. “Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart,” anyone is invited to come between 12:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday for the complimentary drop-in craft days. Call (313) 943-2412 for more information.
Contact The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center Box Office for information on activities in the theater area at (313) 943-2354, or by visiting www.dearborntheater.com. Stop by The Center Box Office at 15801 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn between 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (or one hour prior to any scheduled performance).
The entrance to the theater and cultural arts wing is located on the west side of The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center building, There is close and free parking between The Center and the police station off Michigan Avenue (additional parking is available on the south side of the building off Greenfield Road, or visitors can use free parking available off Greenfield Road at the east entrance to the Dearborn Senior Center).
The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center is located on the eastern edge of the city’s municipal complex (including the Dearborn Police Headquarters and 19th District Court, the Henry Ford Centennial Library, an athletic field and the Dearborn Administrative Center). It is on the south side of Michigan Avenue (U.S-12), generally across from Ford World Headquarters and just east of Exit 6 off the Southfield Freeway (M-39).