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Holiday-themed shows dominate Cowichan Performing Arts Centre stage in December

Music, dance and theatre

The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre starts December with some classic opera.

On Dec. 1 at 9:55 a.m. opera lovers have the chance to see an encore presentation of The Met’s La Traviata on the big screen in the theatre.

That’s not the only Met opera in December, with a presentation of The Hours scheduled for Dec. 10 at 9:55 a.m., also broadcast on the big screen.

“Renée Fleming makes her highly anticipated return to the Met in the world-premiere production of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts’s The Hours, adapted from Michael Cunningham’s acclaimed novel,” says a press release for the show.

Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the opera follows “three women from different eras who each grapple with their inner demons and their roles in society.”

The show also stars Kelli O’Hara and Joyce DiDonato.

Tickets for each show are $35, with a discounted $32 ticket for seniors and a deeply discounted $5 tickets for students in grades 8-12.


After that, it’s all holiday fare at CPAC for the month.

On Dec. 3 it’s the ever popular Royal City Youth Ballet in two performances of The Nutcracker at noon and 4 p.m.

The matinee performances are designed for families and tickets for a package for two adults and two children are $90, available by phone (250-746-2722) or in person only at the Ticket Centre in the Cowichan Community Centre lobby in Duncan.

Featuring Tchaikovsky’s famous score, the ballet boasts a cast of more than 100 dancers under the direction of Camilia Fishwick-Kellog. It tells the story of a young girl who gets a nutcracker for Christmas, then falls asleep under the Christmas tree and dreams of a journey through a magical land.

Regular tickets are $36 for adults and $18 for children.


On Dec. 6 Zachary Stevenson is back as Buddy Holly in Buddy’s Holly Jolly Christmas.

At 7:30 p.m. he will be joined by Ben Klein as Elvis and Cassandra Jean as Brenda Lee and the Legends All-Star Band.

The show promises to feature all your favourite hits plus plenty of seasonal tunes.

Tickets are $55.


On Dec. 9 the Cowichan Symphony Society presents A Brooke White Christmas at 7:30 p.m.

Symphony conductor Sean O’Laughlin and vocalist and American Idol finalist Brooke White team up for a program of seasonal classics and holiday hits.

She cites Karen Carpenter, Joni Mitchell and Kelly Clarkson as inspiration.

Tickets are $55 for adults and $10 for children.


Winter Harp is a holiday staple at CPAC and they are back this year on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. on the big stage.

“Glorious music and song combine with festive stories to warm your heart and wrap you in the Christmas spirit,” says a press release for the event.

The show features a feast for the senses as velvet gowns pair with golden instruments, candles and backdrops of cathedrals and snow.

The group play a plethora of instruments including classical and Celtic harps, flutes, and rare medieval instruments.

“Familiar carols, along with songs ancient and rare, celebrate the season and set your heart singing,” the release promises. “Don’t miss this journey of pure magic!”

Tickets are $38, with groups of 10 or more getting in for $34 each. Group pricing is only available by phone or in person at the Ticket Centre.


Ushering in the middle of the month is the show Is This The Christmas on Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Billed as a “holiday musical celebration”, it features group Wunderbread in “an upbeat, not-so-traditional performance of holiday classics both old and new.”

Wunderbread is a 10-piece ensemble of musicians and dancers from the mid-Island area, along with vocalist Jona Kristinsson.

“Jona connects with the audience like no other and her angelic voice breathes new life into the holiday classics you know and love,” says a press release for the show.

Wunderbread started as a group of six friends in 1996, and have expanded and kept going ever since.

Tickets are $50.


Next up is a non-traditional offering titled Canada’s Best Karate Christmas Concert on Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.

This is the Canada’s Best Karate’s Duncan dojo’s Christmas concert, where students will be joined by dojos from Victoria to perform featured acts.

“Our Duncan dojo students will have the chance to show parents, friends and family their talent and amazing contribution to our school’s show,” said a press release.

Tickets are $25.


Then it’s a Christmas classic like you’ve never seen it with A Wonderheads Christmas Carol on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.

This acclaimed show brings the traditional Charles Dickens story to life using giant masks and puppets.

“A feast for the eyes, ears, heart and funny bone, this astonishing production features larger than life characters, glowing ghosts, and 10-foot-tall puppets – to name just a few of the treats in store for audiences as they are whisked away with Ebenezer Scrooge on his magical Christmas Eve adventure,” said a press release for the show. “Prepare to laugh, cry, and be utterly enchanted this holiday season!”

Show runners advise that there are some spooky moments with theatrical fog and flashing lights, and the show is recommended for ages seven years and up.

Tickets are $38 for adults, $18 for children and $95 for a family (two adults and two children). Family tickets are available by phone or in person only.

A WONDERHEADS Christmas Carol: Trailer from WONDERHEADS on Vimeo.


Finishing off the festive fun is The Festive Brass: Holiday Horns! on Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

This is the west coast premiere of this holiday concert featuring the acclaimed Victoria brass ensemble.

It’s more than an hour and a half of holiday favourites.

“Brilliant and quirky arrangements of classic holiday tunes performed by a 12 piece brass and percussion ensemble will leave audiences with a warm and nostalgic feeling this holiday season,” said a press release for the show.

Songs will include ‘White Christmas’, ‘Feliz Navidad’, ‘Funky Little Drummer Boy’, ‘Frosty’ and ‘Rudolph Variations’.

Tickets are $38.


A couple of quick notes: the scheduled performance of the play Ridge has been cancelled for Nov. 27, and don’t forget about Reel Alternatives screening of Hallelujah on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. The documentary explores the life of legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. Tickets are $17.

Get tickets or more information for all shows at, or the Ticket Centre by phone (250-746-2722) or in person in the Cowichan Community Centre lobby in Duncan.

Holiday favourite The Nutcracker is coming to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan on Dec. 3, 2022. (Citizen file)

Andrea Rondeau

About the Author: Andrea Rondeau

I returned to B.C. and found myself at the Cowichan Valley Citizen.
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