Virtual concert features HFC choruses, Players Guild, Dearborn Symphony
DEARBORN – To spread holiday cheer during these difficult times, the Dearborn Community Fund and the city of Dearborn have worked together to produce a special virtual holiday concert with uplifting live performances from the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, the Players Guild of Dearborn, and the Henry Ford College Choral Arts Program, featuring Vanguard Voices.
The 30-minute holiday program will start online Dec. 7 on cdtv.viebit.com, where it can be viewed on demand. Access is also available from www.cityofderborn.org. The program also will be presented at specific times on City of Dearborn Television.
Public health concerns surrounding COVID-19 means traditional holiday concerts and the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting and sing-along were cancelled; however, the city and its partners still wanted to ensure that residents could maintain these community-based programs while staying safe.
“We thought this could be a gift to the community from all of us, and that we could show that the arts are still going strong,” DCF Executive Director EmmaJean Woodyard said.
A part of the DCF’s Community Connections television programming on CDTV, the holiday special is a creative approach to keeping music and performances alive.
Despite the unusual circumstances, the organizations were able to work together to create an innovative, enjoyable holiday concert to be viewed online or or via cable TV.
“The unique thing about this special is that it’s part virtual, part on-stage,” Woodyard said.
The special will be a combination of virtual performances conducted over Zoom video conferencing, and performances done in a socially distant way in-person at the Michael A. Guido Theater inside the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.
The program will feature performances from the Henry Ford College Chorus, the Blue Fusion Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the Vanguard Virtual Voices, all directed by Kevin Dewey; the Players’ Guild of Dearborn; and the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Jarvi.
The musical selections are:
• “Masters in This Hall,” performed by HFC Chorus.
• “Wassail Song,” performed by the Blue Fusion Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
• “As Some People Tell It” written by Paul Bruce and performed by Brian Townsend and Colleen Meade Ripper from the Players’ Guild of Dearborn.
• “Theme and Variation on a Frozen Night” written and composed by Paul Bruce from the Players’ Guild.
• “Suite of Carols” by Leroy Anderson, performed by the DSO.
• “Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves’” by Ralph Vaughn Williams, performed by the DSO.
• The closing number, “Hallelujah,” will be a unique mixture of virtual and on-stage performances by the Vanguard Virtual Voices and the DSO.
The 30-minute special will air during the following times through Dec. 31 on CDTV, which is Comcast channel 12 and WOW channel 10:
• Mondays and Wednesdays: 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 11 p.m.
• Tuesdays and Thursdays: 8 a.m., noon, and 4 p.m.
• Fridays: 7 a.m., 3 p.m., and 11 p.m.
• Saturdays and Sundays: 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The special is being produced by Patricia Maurier, broadcast media manager of the Department of Public Information’s CDTV division; Martin Zbosnik, theater director of the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center; and Woodyard of the DCF.
Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. supported the endeavor and praised the artistic groups involved.
“Dearborn is so fortunate to have such high-quality cultural arts groups, and also fortunate to celebrate the holidays in this creative way, right when we need it most,” he said. “I’m grateful to the Players’ Guild of Dearborn, the Henry Ford College Choral Arts Program, and the Dearborn Symphony for making this program possible, and for the Dearborn Community Fund for initiating it.”
Support for the Dearborn Symphony is provided by Ford Land, Dearborn Sausage, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, Art Works/National Endowment for the Arts, the Kresge Foundation, Beaumont, Kiwanis Club Dearborn, and the Exchange Club of Dearborn.