Nothing gets many of us into the holiday spirit more than a little music and entertainment.
The Battle Creek area has plenty of this next month, whether to get you in the holiday spirit or as a gift idea in the form of tickets to an upcoming show.
For many, the Brass Band of Battle Creek’s holiday concert is the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season, and it will take center stage Saturday at the WK Kellogg Auditorium.
“For many families and longtime patrons, this is the thing that kicks off their holiday season. It’s their way of getting into the Christmas spirit,” said Shannon Aikins, executive director of the Brass Band of Battle Creek.
One of Battle Creek’s members, Broadway star Doug LaBrecque, will join the Brass Band this year. The Lakeview High School graduate has delighted New York audiences for nearly two decades with starring roles in “Phantom of the Opera,” as well as “Showboat” and a national tour of “Les Misérables.”
“We can’t tell you how excited we are for this concert,” Aikins said. “It’s great to have a guest artist like hometown native Doug LaBrecque. He never played with the Battle Creek Brass Band. He usually performs with the Battle Creek Symphony.”
The Brass Band of Battle Creek has, over the past 25 years, established itself as one of the premier ensembles in the country, with members of some of the world’s finest brass and percussion performers coming to Battle Creek as visiting band artists. and orchestras from Canada to England, as well as the New York Orchestra-Metropolitan Opera and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Along with LaBrecque, this year’s Holiday Concert will also feature special guest and internationally acclaimed trombonist Joseph Alessi, principal trombonist of the New York Philharmonic.
As well as the main performance at 7.30pm on Saturday, the Brass Band is inviting area schools to a rehearsal during the week and there will also be a BBBC Young Peoples Concert on Friday at 10am in the auditorium.
“Having Doug LaBrecque is tremendous for us,” said Jerry Rose, BBBC director of education. “He’s been on stages all over the world. I’m looking forward to seeing him combine his substantial talent with the superstars we’ll have on stage from the world of summation and percussion. It’s going to be a real treat.
“The rehearsal experience is great. I think for young music students who come for this, it can be more informative than a concert because they can see how the band is formed and how it works. And, for me, the Young Peoples Concert is a real big deal. It’s a scaled-down version of our elementary school holiday concert that we’re customizing to be more interesting for younger kids. We have 10 different schools and 1,800 kids come.”
Tickets are available online at www.bbbc.net.
Ada LeAnn performs at the Franke Center
Giving the gift of music is always a good idea, so why not buy a ticket for someone to see a show after the holidays are over. Battle Creek’s Ada LeAnn will perform at the Franke Center in Marshall on Feb. 25, with tickets on sale now.
LeAnn, a graduate of Lakeview High School, was recently in the national spotlight as a contestant on NBC’s Great American Song Contest, representing Michigan. LeAnn reached the semifinals of the show with her song, “Natalie.” She has since won Single of the Year at the 8th Annual Josie Music Awards, where she performed at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.
The show at the Franke Center would be her first theater show dedicated entirely to her show. In addition, she has appeared locally at several fairs and events throughout the past year.
“Performing at the Franke Center will be an amazing opportunity for me,” said LeAnn. “It’s one of my first shows that I’ve been able to do that’s exclusively for me and people come just for me. Not for a festival or fair and not just for background entertainment. This is my show and I am so excited to take the time to create a show that showcases my original art and music.”
LeAnn will also be performing locally at Handmap Brewery on December 21st and at Kalamazoo’s New Year’s Eve Fest on December 31st.
Tickets for the Franke Center show can be purchased at www.thefranke.org
Christmas at the Barn Theatre
One of the area’s most anticipated entertainment events in recent years has been the annual Christmas Cabaret at the Augusta Barn Theatre. Held at the Rehearsal Shop on the Barn Theater premises, there will be performances throughout the month from December 9-22 with weeknights at 7pm and two chances on Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and 7pm.
Entertainers who are featured at the summer theater each year will celebrate the season with carols and favorite holiday songs.
Tickets are available at www.barntheatreschool.org.
Instead of singing, how about holiday entertainment in the spoken word?
The Battle Creek Regional History Museum hosts “Tales of Christmas Past,” featuring readings of vintage newspaper stories from the 1800s. Performers will include Dave Eddy, Bobbie Mathis, Donna Rickman, Michael Delaware and Brian and Jill McCombs. There will be two performances at 2pm and 6pm on December 17th.
For tickets or more information, go to www.bcrhm.org
Bill Broderick can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @billbroderick