Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Christmas Voices Lifted at BSPAC


Last updated 12/20/2018 at 2:18pm

With a little over two weeks left before Christmas, BSPAC artistic director George Keith put on a well-rounded show, with choreography, set design, lighting, and costuming providing both a professional look and bringing a bright, cheerful, and highly energetic feel to help put us in the holiday spirit. Choices in musical and narrative selections spanned the range from somber to lyrical to hysterical, performed by a superb cast succeeding in the apt-named program title, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Keith weaved the program together seamlessly, combining together the full range of male and female voices with well-blended harmonies, instruments, and narration.

Laughter flowed freely as Lynnette Salton and Elaine Hazelrigg performed a memorable, truly hysterical stage performance of "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." Rhyming "rhinoceroses" and "hippopotamuses" while staying on-beat was an achievement in humor all its own.

Beth Hart, Elaine Hazelrigg, Lynnette Salton, and Sherry Harapat showed off their harmonizing talents in "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire." This was followed by the 1951 hit, "Please Come Home for Christmas," covered by many famous vocal artists since. With Jimmy Smith on vocals and guitar, backed up by guitarists Jim Roller and Sheldon Baker, plus vocal back-up in 50's style by Sherry Harapat, Linda Roller, Lynnette Salton, the blues song emphasized, said narrator Sherwood, a certain subtext of loneliness, sometimes a lack of money, and other constraints to an otherwise joyful time. Of course, because it's a Christmas blues song, Smith's rendition was focused on love.

Costuming and children participation opened Act II with the surprise appearance of Frosty the Snowman. With theme song playing, Frosty frolicked up and down the aisles and on stage while leading a train of happy and smiling children. Barbara Coates was in Full Frosty mode, very dramatic in her movement and gestures despite her absolute vocal silence.

Santa's Elves (aka the Harmony Foursome of Beth Hart, Elaine Hazelrigg, Lynnette Salton, and Sherry Harapat) sang their little pointy hats off while once again singing in graceful harmony, "That's Christmas to Me."

Sherry Harapat is not only a fine singer, but she also has great range on stage, including comedic timing, the latter fully demonstrated in her solo piece, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."

The song to follow was "White Christmas," one of the world's most famous. Robin Young's vocal purity with an understated grace was in perfect contrast to the prior humor piece.

Congrats to director George Keith, the entire cast, and the technical/staging crew for a BSPAC season off to a very good start.

Full story in the Dec. 13 issue of the Borrego Sun.

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