The music. The magic. The mistletoe.
Local singer, teacher, director and producer Melina Moore is bringing back her beloved holiday spectacle this weekend, but with a twist.
Audiences will flock into the sanctuary at All Saints Anglican Church, where Moore first performed a holiday show in Vernon upon moving to the Okanagan from her home in New York City in 1996.
“I’ll never forget that feeling of community spirit. People were packed into the pews. The stained glass windows seemed to come alive and the sounds echoed from every hallowed corner. It was magical,” recalled Moore.
This year, more than anything, Moore says she wanted to bring the show’s meaning back to its roots.
“There will be no huge fanfare or hoopla, just beautiful, soulful music, the joining of voices and the spirit of community in the most intimate and welcoming setting I know.”
Moore has invited many special guests to join her in song this year, including pianist Jim Leonard.
“This marks five years of collaborating for Jim and I. He is as gracious and humble as he is talented, and a father figure of my musical family. Audiences will delight in hearing him play the grand piano at All Saints as well as the gorgeous organ,” said Moore.
Local singers Judy Rose and Tanya Lipscomb, who, with Moore, comprise The Dharma Dolls, will also be featured artists.
“I feature incredible guest performers every year at Christmas. This year, the theme of love and brotherhood (sisterhood) kept coming to my mind. The Dharma Dolls are my musical sisters and who better to share the stage with?”
Moore’s students from her vocal performance and training studio, Valley Vocal Arts, will also be making appearances, with ensembles by the littlest Mini Divas to the adult Company group.
Audiences can also expect a special appearance by Sun FM’s Brian Martin, who is a principal member of VVA, and haunting four-part harmonies by The Regalo Octet.
Also joining Moore as a soloist will be her 16-year-old son Justin, who can usually be found fronting local band Armonia.
“It’s the first time we are singing together since he was 10,” said Moore.
The concert will be packed full of all the standard musical holiday fare, The Dharma Dolls’ signature songs and a few surprise numbers, including several original arrangements, with a finale containing a message for peace.
“With the current state of the world, the need for peace cannot be overstated,” said Moore. “My hope for these holiday shows is to forego the glitz and focus on the spirit of the music and the message of the season. I want people to feel like they are invited in my living room to gather around the piano and join our 60-plus voices in song. I want us to remember that we each need to be at peace this holiday season, and always… It begins with each of us.”
Presenting this year’s Christmas show is Moore’s latest venture, theatre production company Big Apple Productions. In its third year, the company has so far produced two successful presentations of the Rocky Horror Show as well as Fiddler on the Roof and The Phantom Returns. The Christmas show is a precursor to Big Apple Productions’ 2016 presentation of Beauty and the Beast in June.
“Big Apple is my baby, and I’m so very proud of what we’ve already accomplished. It’s another testament to what community is capable of – first class, professional calibre theatre right here in our small town,” said Moore, adding audiences can expect a very special announcement at the Christmas show on behalf of Big Apple Productions.
A Melina Moore Christmas and Friends takes place at All Saints Anglican Church, 3205 27th St., Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are at Blenz Coffee (both Vernon locations) and at the door. Cash only for both. A reprise show will take place at Sparkling Hill Resort on Christmas Eve. Tickets are available by phone. Call 250-275-1556.