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Playhouse fills with holiday spirit this week
Christmas Classics 2013 is set for 8 tonight at the Cumming Playhouse. - photo by For the FCN

Still need something to inspire the Christmas spirit?

The Cumming Playhouse has you covered with several different local holiday shows.

From singers and dancers to orchestras, the playhouse has a full lineup of concerts and performances from local groups.

Linda Heard, executive director of the playhouse, said the weeks leading up to Christmas are always a busy time.

“Customarily, we present a four-week, main stage musical or play suitable for the Christmas season, which begins around the middle of November,” she said.

This year, that show was “White Christmas,” which concludes today. But don’t expect to get tickets if you haven’t yet.

Heard said the production has beaten all attendance and box office sales records for the playhouse, with nearly every show a sellout.

If you didn’t manage to get tickets to “White Christmas,” there are plenty of other holiday shows coming up this month to inspire Christmas spirit.

Tickets to all of these shows are $20 or $15 for those 60 and older, younger than 18, and groups of 25 or more. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling (770) 781-9178.

The lineup includes:


“Christmas Classics 2013” 8 tonight

For the ninth year, “Christmas Classics” will present a wide range of holiday entertainment.

“This more of a variety show,” said Anna Richardson, one of the show’s organizers. “It includes performances by several singers and dancers. For the first time, ‘Christmas Classics’ will feature the Forsyth Youth Orchestra directed by Corina Brito.”

The orchestra was formed in February to give students who play stringed instruments an opportunity to work together in a group performance setting since most Forsyth schools don’t offer a stringed instruments program.

Other highlights of this year’s “Christmas Classics” show, Richardson said, include Jeanie Lipscomb performing Mozart’s “Alleluja.” She will be accompanied by Holly Dina on cello and Marianna Carrol on piano.

“The show will also feature Regina Spencer, soprano, and Elise Wilson, a ballerina, presenting ‘Ave Maria, There is a Heart’ by Irish composer Liam Lawton,” Richardson said.


“North Georgia Barber Shop Singers Christmas 2013” 8 p.m. Thursday

The more than 30 men of the North Georgia Barbershop Singers are looking forward to a large crowd at their annual Christmas concert.

“We have performed a Christmas show annually at the Cumming Playhouse,” said Duane Hunter, one of the group’s members. “All have been sellouts.

“We work hard to make each show fresh and started introducing new songs to our members in September.”

He said this year’s concert will feature favorites such as “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night,” and “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.”

Two new songs have also been added to the group’s repertoire for this performance: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “The Secret of Christmas.”

Besides full group numbers, the concert will also offer performances from three quartets within the larger group: Sweet Tea, False Alarm and Lads of Lanier.

“Our featured quartet this year is Perimeter Sound, which includes our director, Steve Dorn singing lead, Steve Sick singing bass, Ryan Lorio singing baritone, and Matthew Campisi singing tenor,” Hunter said.


“Cumming Playhouse Singers Christmas Concert 2013” 8 p.m. Friday

The Cumming Playhouse Singers will present “Winterlight” as their 2013 Christmas concert.

More than 60 singers from Forsyth and nearby counties are a part of the group, which is directed by Van McCollum and accompanied by Patricia Wester.

“The ‘Winterlight’ concert will be a magical celebration of the holiday season, but is also about the wonder and beauty of winter,” McCollum said.

He said audiences can look forward to such traditional holiday pieces as “Home for the Holidays,” “Over the River and Through the Woods,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” and “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.”

There will also be “many beautiful descriptive pieces of the winter season,” he said.

“Audiences should be prepared to have fun,” he said. “This will also be a great opportunity to come into the warmth of the Cumming Playhouse, sit back, relax and be filled with the holiday spirit.”


“Sounds of Sawnee Christmas Concert 2013” 8 p.m. Saturday

The Sounds of Sawnee Concert Band will celebrate a special milestone this year in its “The Spirit of Christmas Past” holiday concert.

“Our theme reflects the 20thanniversary of the group’s existence,” said Alice Bryan, director of the group, which is made up of musicians of various ages and skill levels from throughout the community.  “The concert will feature traditional Christmas songs from times past.

“Audiences will hear some of our favorite tunes from past Christmases, including ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘Stars and Stripes for Christmas.’ We will also offer a wonderful new addition to our music inventory, ‘The Eighth Candle,’ which is also a gift to our Jewish audience members.”

In honor of the group’s anniversary, Bryan said David Ladner, one of the group’s “multi-talented trumpet players” has written a parody of “Thanks for the Memory.”

“That will highlight some of the activities we have enjoyed over the last 20 years,” Bryan said. “The band also commissioned a new piece of music from Atlanta composer Mark Gresham especially for the anniversary Christmas celebration.”

That piece, titled “Sawnee Christmas March,” Bryan said, features several sacred harp Christmas carols that “represent the rich musical heritage of our area.”

The band will be joined in several numbers by the choir from the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit.

Bryan hopes the community is as excited to celebrate the band’s milestone as are its members.

“It should be an evening of great fun and joy in the vast variety of music for the holiday season,” she said. “Our joyous celebration of our years past should make a fun Christmas present.”


“The North Georgia Chamber Symphony Holiday Concert” 3 p.m. Sunday

A mix of “dedicated amateurs, students and professional musicians” will come together during the North Georgia Chamber Symphony’s performance.

Organized in April 2007, the nonprofit symphony is open to a range of musicians who perform on stringed instruments from several counties in northeast Georgia. They rehearse weekly in Dahlonega under the direction of Laurin Smith.

The group also includes a youth orchestra for musicians younger than 18, which is under the direction of Rebecca Gerstenlauer.

The holiday concert will include a range of musical selections, such as Vivaldi’s Concerto Ripieno in C Minor and Mozart’s Quartet No. 3 in G Major.

The event will also offer a holiday sing-a-long featuring classics such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

In addition, audiences will “travel around the world” as the group presents “International Jingle Bells.”