A Christmas tradition returns to the Cedar Community Hall

The sixth Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular begins Dec. 6 and runs until Dec. 22 at the Cedar Community Hall.

Emily Fraser

Six years ago, Katy Bowen-Roberts started producing the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular in the hopes that it would become a festive tradition for families in the Ladysmith area.

And with this year’s shows just days away, she feels she’s achieved that goal, as families come back year after to year to see this holiday production, which is described as “a celebration of Christmas, as well as an extravaganza of music and dance, lights and decorations, laughter and tears — all washed down with minced pies and butter tarts.”

This year, the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular (YPCS), which is held at the Cedar Community Hall, includes Neil Diamond hits, a Marilyn Monroe tribute, hits by Tom Jones and friends, a Christmas Around the World set, medleys from Singin’ in the Rain and Les Miserables, and many more classical hits and Christmas favourites.

A cast of 14 professional singers, dancers and musicians will perform for up to 5,500 people during 21 performances from Dec. 6-22.

Bowen-Roberts, who grew up in Ladysmith, is the show’s producer and director.

“It’s a show I started for the community,” she said. “I guess I had two goals in mind when I started. I wanted to create a tradition for families and friends to get together and go to live theatre in a remote area, and it does seem to have become a tradition. Also, I’m a performer, and I ended up moving to England because there wasn’t a lot of work here, so I wanted to create an opportunity for performers to work in B.C. It’s been neat to employ 14 performers a year for a 16-week period.”

Bowen-Roberts chooses all the music then plugs it into her formula, and she has a music arranger from Nanaimo who arranges the whole show.

“It’s tied together with Christmas music, but it’s really a revue of different kinds of music, from Broadway to popular hits, classical … we try to mix it up, and that means the performers are very versatile with their skills as performers,” she said.

The YPCS is a year-long project for Bowen-Roberts, and she says she loves seeing the audience’s reaction once everything comes together.

“When we get up on the stage, to be able to see the smiles and tears at times and people really connecting with each other in a live environment, which is becoming rarer these days with technology, I would say I get enjoyment out of the audience’s enjoyment of it,” she said.

“As someone who grew up in Ladysmith, I feel it’s neat it has become a tradition,” she added. “I hear from men and women of all ages who say we are the start of Christmas for them, which is neat. It’s professional theatre in the countryside, which is rare here.”

About 40 “Santa’s elves and Christmas presenters” from the Ladysmith, Cedar and Yellowpoint volunteer their time to decorate the Cedar Community Hall and to help out during performance nights, noted Bowen-Roberts.

“That support from the community is huge, and we couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

The Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular begins this Thursday (Dec. 6) with a preview at 7 p.m., and shows continue until Dec. 22 at the Cedar Community Hall. Tickets are still available for Thursday’s preview night, and tickets are cheaper than usual at $28.

For tickets, call 250-754-8550. Visit the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular website for show times and more details.

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