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Spotlight: Holiday season offers bevy of events

The holidays are nearly upon us, with dozens of related arts events on the way.

When I say dozens, that’s no exaggeration. Yet I wanted to pick out a few events and give you a start on your holiday arts planning:

Custer’s 35th Annual Christmas Arts and Crafts Show, the annual show featuring 300 artists and crafters – continuing today, Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St., $6 admission at the door.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the rock/orchestral Christmas-themed spectacular – Friday, 4 and 8 p.m., Spokane Arena, tickets available through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT or

“The Nutcracker,” the Spokane Symphony tradition, with the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara – Dec. 2-4, Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, TicketsWest.

“A Christmas Carol,” the Spokane Civic Theatre’s song-packed version of the classic – through Dec. 18, on the theater’s Main Stage, 1020 N. Howard St., TicketsWest.

“A Dickens of a Dinner,” a dinner-theater presentation of “A Christmas Carol” – Dec. 2-10, 6 p.m., The Lion’s Share Theatre, 1627 N. Atlantic St. Call (509) 327-1113.

Spokane Jazz Orchestra with Charlotte Carruthers, the big band’s holiday-themed show, “Home for the Holidays” – Dec. 3, 8 p.m., Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave., TicketsWest.

The Spokane Area Children’s Chorus Holiday Concert, the annual concert by Spokane’s top youth choir – Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., Westminster Congregational Church, 411 S. Washington St., tickets available at the door.

Candlelight Christmas Concert, Gonzaga University’s annual choral celebration – Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 10, 2 p.m. at St. Aloysius Church on the Gonzaga campus, tickets at or at the door.

The Whitworth University Christmas Festival Concert, the annual choral concert including carols and readings – Dec. 10, 8 p.m. and Dec. 11, 3 p.m. at the Fox. TicketsWest.

The Singing Nuns, “Light of Lights,” everybody’s favorite all-sister vocal ensemble – Dec. 14-15 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Bing Crosby Theater, TicketsWest.

Spokane Symphony Holiday Pops, the annual “Sleigh Ride” of holiday music – Dec. 17 at 8 p.m., Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. at the Fox, TicketsWest.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” the Spokane Children’s Theatre’s classic show about the Herdman kids – Friday-Dec. 11, Spokane Falls Community College, Spartan Theatre, 3410 W. Fort George Wright Drive, TicketsWest.

Clarion Brass, “This is What Christmas Sounds Like,” the region’s innovative and quirky Christmas brass institution – Dec. 21 and 22, 7:30 p.m. at St. John’s Cathedral. 127 E. 12th Ave. and Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene, TicketsWest.

And then there’s a show in Coeur d’Alene …

CdA ‘Winter’ Theatre

The Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre announced last week that it is restructuring “to allow for continued growth.”

No, that does not mean the theater is in financial peril.

“We’re doing just fine,” said spokeswoman Michelle Mendez. It means that the theater has dropped the executive director position and will instead have a business director and development director.

Board president Mary Sanderson said that productions have “become so large and intricate” that the theater needs to raise additional funds, which is where the development director will come in.

Meanwhile, the theater is moving into a new season – winter – in a big way with its upcoming “GI Holiday Jukebox,” a World War II holiday revue opening Friday at the Resort Theater – a new 200-seat venue built just for this show in the Shore Lounge of the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

Call (208) 769-7780 for tickets.

Big MAC openings

And don’t forget about another of Spokane’s favorite Christmastime destinations: The Campbell House Holidays at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, 2316 W. First Ave.

This year, the festively decorated mansion will have yet another attraction: A new interactive Visitor’s Center in the detached Carriage House. Thanks to generous grants and donations, the Carriage House will have electronic touch-screens and kiosks which will allow visitors to explore the mansion’s inner workings and its historical era.

The official opening of the Visitors Center will be Dec. 3. The Campbell House will be open throughout the holiday season during museum hours.

Among the holiday programs will be the “Living History” open houses, featuring costumed characters, beginning Friday and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m., with more dates starting Dec. 21. Call (509) 456-3931 for details.

Meanwhile, a big new exhibit is coming Dec. 3: “Lasting Heritage,” the MAC’s largest American Indian exhibit to date, showing off the museum’s massive collection.

Sing with Julie Andrews

Looking for something fun to do with the family during Christmas week? Dress ‘em up in lederhosen and start rehearsing “My Favorite Things.”

The “Sound of Music Sing-a-Long” has been booked into the INB Performing Arts Center, Dec. 30, 7 p.m. This is the 1965 Julie Andrews movie classic, shown complete with subtitles and audience participation.

Lots of audience participation. Think of it as a kind of clean-cut, well-scrubbed version of “Rocky Horror.” The audience helps sing all the songs, and also acts out  in other ways.

Every audience member receives a “Bag of Musical Moments,” full of props to utilize at key moments in the film. There’s also a costume contest for the most clever and outrageous outfits.

The sing-a-long began in Manhattan in 2000 and became a big Hollywood Bowl event in 2001. It has since swept the country.

Tickets are $20, $25 and $30, through TicketsWest outlets.

The missing art mystery

Freelance art curator Ben Mitchell is putting together an ambitious traveling retrospective exhibit of the works of Spokane artist Ric Gendron (a project discussed in detail here on Oct. 24).

Neither Mitchell nor Gendron can track down four powerful and uncommonly important paintings that, by any measure, should be included in the exhibit. These are part of Gendron’s dark “Indian Boarding School Series,” displayed in a 2002 exhibit at Whitworth University.

Nobody, including Gendron, has a record of who bought those paintings. Mitchell suspects they are hanging in homes somewhere.

We’ve posted photos of the four missing paintings on the Spotlight blog, blogs/spotlight/.

If anyone out there owns them and knows where they might be found, they should contact Mitchell at bennett.d.mitchell@

The Great Parrot Escape

High drama, involving green feathers, took place at intermission on the street outside the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater performance Nov. 9 at the Bing Crosby Theater.

Michael Smith, who manages the Bing, said his first inkling came when he looked out the window of the lobby and saw an alarming sight.

“I saw the people from the show running down the street with a ladder,” he said.

Turns out, the show’s big green parrot had flown the coop during intermission, swooped through the stage door and winged its way across Lincoln Street. It was perched on the ledge of a fourth floor window at the Davenport Hotel.

The show’s parrot wranglers set up the ladder on the sidewalk and tried to lure the parrot down. The parrot was stubborn and refused to budge.

The ladder and general hubbub attracted the attention of the Davenport’s security people. They brought the frantic Popovich people into the hotel and took them up to the fourth-floor room. They opened the window and talked the parrot off the ledge and into the room.

Those of us in the audience had no idea what was going on – although we did wonder why intermission went on so long.

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