A medieval holiday spectacle

Published on Thu, Dec 13, 2001 by Christine Callan

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A medieval holiday spectacle

By Christine Callan

Christmas goes back in time and graces Blaine with medievally clad, award-winning musical performances as The Pacific Arts Foundation welcomes Winter Harp. This holiday celebration will take place December 16, at 3:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center and is one of five in the concert series.

Winter Harp is a must-see for all ages, said set designer Vicki Montgomery. “There is not another musical performance quite the same,” she said. “The relationship between spoken word and instrumental music is beautiful.”

The performance, directed by Laurie Papajohn, includes a collaboration of poetry that is combined with Celtic, Spanish and classical harps, flute, cello, percussion, and song all in a medieval setting. “We allow the audience to walk into an outdoor environment and the troop is dressed in Baroque costumes,” Montgomery said. The set is dressed with alder trees and birch trees, which line the stage and background behind magnificent wooden windows draped with glowing candles.

Adding to the medieval flare of this unique performance are a number of extremely rare instruments including the harpsichord, nyckelharpa and organistrum. All of these are hand made specifically for the ensemble and date back to the 13th century. “This is a very traditional group,” said Don Lotze, technical director for the PAC. “Most Christmas performances are Charles Dickens-like, but they are back a couple hundred years.”

The music is not the typical recognizable songs, although some classics like ‘Ava Maria’ will be performed, said Montgomery. “They are mixing music and reading in an atmosphere that is modern, yet really old,” Lotze said. “It brings the medieval sense to modern day, which the audience really enjoys.”
Tickets are on sale at Steamers in Blaine, the gift shop at Resort Semiahmoo and Village Books in Fairhaven. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for students. For credit card orders call, 360/332-9561. Advance purchase is advised.

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