Melina and Paul Moore join their formidable voices and bring in other talents from the community for their new Christmas production at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre

Melina and Paul Moore join their formidable voices and bring in other talents from the community for their new Christmas production at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre

A holiday tradition returns

Opera singers Paul and Melina Moore present their first Christmas concert together in five years at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

After a five-year hiatus, local opera sensations Paul and Melina Moore are bringing their homegrown holiday tradition back to the stage for another season of music, magic and mistletoe.

Back in 1996, the Moores, who met and married in New York City where they were both studying at The Juilliard School, made their move west and began a musical holiday tradition that would span more than 10 years.

“Our first year, we sang a few Christmas tunes at the Schubert Centre, complete with audience sing-alongs,” said Melina. “From there, we moved the show to All Saints Anglican Church and watched it grow each year. We began inviting guest artists and adding more performances, selling out each one annually.”

Upon completion of the Vernon Performing Arts Centre in October, 2001, A Merry Moore Christmas was one of the first holiday shows to grace the centre’s stage, and the Moores carried on the tradition in their new venue.

The show would soon become a box office holiday hit, selling out three performances within a week, beginning in 2002.

The production grew to involve other local performers and community groups.

“We’ve shared our Christmas stage with local choirs, dance groups, and guest artists from around the world. We’ve been blessed with many amazing local sponsors as well,” said Melina.

“It was astounding to watch the show grow. People would tell us that it didn’t feel like Christmas until they came to our production,” added Paul.

When the couple amicably parted ways in 2007, the tradition was put on hold.

This year will be monumental in that not only is this the first time the Moores have shared the Performing Arts Centre’s stage at Christmas in more than five years, the duo will be joined by more local talent than ever before.

“We are excited to be in a place where we can join forces again and make our music,” said Paul.

“We have missed singing together. No one ever knows what turns life will take.  Fortunately, we have always been able to keep in sight what’s important. And at Christmas, that’s sharing and giving,” said Melina.“It is a joy to sing with Paul again. Standing beside him and blending our voices, it feels like no time has ever passed.”

Joining the Moores this year are local jazz chanteuse Judy Rose, pianist Jim Leonard, dancers from City Dance Studio led by Heather Stranks and Jens Goerner, local choreographer and dancer Lisa Schofield, the Seaton C-Tones and Honors Choir led by Lana O’Brien, and the students of Valley Vocal Arts.

“The Moore, the merrier! What fun it is to spread extra holiday cheer by involving this talented and giving community. Not only will there be singing, but waltzing, jiving, rousing ensemble pieces, touching children’s numbers and so much more,” said Melina.

“It feels good to remember what being a singer is all about and what it means to give back to a community which has given so much to us.”

Christmas with Paul and Melina Moore and Friends takes place at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Friday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students at the Ticket Seller, 549-7469,