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Nightingale Chorus show captures reason for the season

Cathy Dobson First, there’s the Christmas theme and the central message that reflects the reason for the season.
Aidan Beauchamp, left, and Brent Wilkinson rehearse a scene from the Nightingale Chorus’s The Christmas Star.

Cathy Dobson 

First, there’s the Christmas theme and the central message that reflects the reason for the season.

Then there are all the wonderful choral and solo performances complementing the theatrical scenes of Carrie Beauchamp’s annual December show.

Finally, there’s a lovely, warm ending that sends the audience home happy.

For two decades, Beauchamp has been the writer, director and creator of one of Sarnia’s biggest Christmas productions.

Each year, she comes up with an original script and new musical arrangements.

“It’s very tricky,” she admits, to write a fresh story line each time. “I spend hours and hours thinking about it.”

Initially the show, which has always featured the Nightingale Chorus, was music only.  Beauchamp says she loves to present Christmas music with lots of harmony and variations.

In 1999, the show was built around a script for the first time and actors were auditioned. A total of 32 songs mixed with 11 or 12 scenes proved to be exactly the right format, so Beauchamp has stuck to it ever since.

It’s a sellout every year.

“It’s more than just a show to me,” she explained. “It’s my love for Christmas and my love for creating beautiful harmonies.

“We have a great time together and everyone in the show becomes a second family to me.”

Beauchamp has been involved in Sarnia theatre from childhood. At age 22, she established Hidden Talents, a business specializing in children’s musical theatre.

The Christmas production started on a small scale in the Sarnia library auditorium and quickly grew to be an annual favourite at the Imperial Theatre.

It now involves more than 120 singers and actors, as well as 20 or so crew behind the scenes. The Victorian costumes and colourful sets have also become more elaborate, said Beauchamp.

This year’s version, called The Christmas Star, focuses on a little girl named Eva, played by 10-year-old Dana Parco. Eva’s father, Mr. Philips, played by Brent Wilkinson, is more enamored with his business than taking time to celebrate the season.

“When Eva learns the true meaning of Christmas, she teaches it to her father,” said Beauchamp.

“The show has become an important part of the season for me. I love working on it and seeing it supported so much. I’ve heard many people say they don’t feel like it’s Christmastime until they’ve come to our show.”


WHAT: “The Christmas Star,” the annual Hidden Talents Christmas show.

WHEN: Dec. 9 – 12 at 7:30 p.m. with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

WHERE:  Imperial Theatre

TICKETS: Adults, $30, seniors $26, students $23. Call 519-344-SHOW.