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Players, Civic Chorale programs set for this weekend

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Christmas music, including the classics and newer pieces, will take the stage at two local venues this weekend, perhaps a welcome break from shopping.

"I'll Be Home for Christmas: A Holiday Cabaret" will be presented at Peoria Players Theatre, University and Lake streets, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $15 and are on sale now. Call 688-4473.

This is the second year for "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and like the inaugural show it will feature performers who for one reason or another have left Peoria. Last year the show was strong with performers who now live in New York City or Chicago, working to make it as professional entertainers, who came back to see relatives for the holidays.

This year there will be several performers who are college students home for the holidays, said Jimmy Ulrich, who is co-directing the show with Erin Wood Miller. "We have really nice mix of students home from college and community theatre veterans. All will be singing, some dancing. We want to put everyone in a holiday mood," he said.

Community theatre veterans performing will be Steve Bortolotti, Barb Couri, Bryan Blanks, Erica Franken, Derek Kimler, Kelly Kooken-Nehls, and Michelle and Steve Rouland. In addition, dancers from The Tap Shack, owned and operated by Franken, will perform.

College students performing in the show will be Amber Baer, Rusty Brost, Wes Hunt, Katie Paternaga, Jessi Palkovic and David Brown.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will also appear, Ulrich said.

"Last year's show went over very well and we wanted to continue that. We wanted some kind of holiday show to help people get into the holiday spirit and to give them something to do when they need a break from Christmas shopping," he said.

Also this weekend the Peoria Civic Chorale will have its annual holiday concert, "An American Family Christmas," at the Caterpillar Performing Arts Center at Five Points in Washington.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for students in advance or $25 for adults and $15 for students at the door. Contact the Peoria Civic Chorale business office at 309-693-6725 for tickets.

The Civic Chorale is planning a show that will include soulful renditions of traditional carols, gems of choral literature, and some musical surprises "as we celebrate this magical time of the year with the uplifting and soul-stirring power of live choral music."

The Chorale said selections include In the Bleak Mid-Winter, contemporary versions of While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks and Frosty the Snowman, and Benjamin Britten's masterful work, This Little Babe.

There also will be appearances by the PACC Youth Chorus, Young Artist Competition winners, and a variety of small ensemble and instrumental groups, the Chorale said on its website.

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).