'Nutcracker,' 'Conspirare' holiday traditions

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 30, 2017 at 6:57 p.m.
Updated Dec. 1, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Once again, it's time to celebrate the holiday spirit with our annual visit to the Stahlbaums' Christmas party.

Time again to admire how Clara, their daughter, receives the best gift of the evening - a homemade nutcracker.

We will watch it come alive and battle the Mouse King after the party subsides. Afterward, we will accompany Clara and the Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy will honor them with a lavish festival.

All of this is possible, of course, through the enormous talents of the Victoria Ballet Theatre, which will present its annual production of "The Nutcracker" Dec. 7-10 at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.

"The community has always been very supportive; it's a great family tradition," said Brenda Tally, the group's artistic director. "Kids and adults love it. It's a good time to get dressed up and enjoy the arts."

"The Nutcracker" has been performed by the company since 1985, and the production consists of about 200 cast members made up of five or six guest artists, 50 company members and 153 community members.

All of the young artists in this ballet work tirelessly to provide the best performance possible. And despite the long hours of rehearsal, they smile when they are on stage to make sure their audience gets an evening of great entertainment.

"The Nutcracker" is a timeless classic tale, and the Victoria Ballet Theatre's production has become one of the premier Christmastime traditions in the Crossroads.

Another performing arts event in that category is "Conspirare Christmas."

The Austin-based choral group will kick off its holiday tour at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the First United Methodist Church under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson.

During the past 10 years, the Grammy-winning choir has transformed the concept of a choral performance with its holiday program.

"Its message of love and connection is a special experience that encourages people to share and explore the meaning of the holidays," said Nina Di Leo, executive director of the Victoria Bach Festival.

"Conspirare Christmas" is a 90-minute performance that combines holiday favorites with a variety of genres from different time periods.

This event keeps its originality fresh by bringing in a guest performer to incorporate their genre and style into the concert.

Carrie Rodriguez, a singer-songwriter from Austin, will perform as the special guest this year.

Rodriguez's "Ameri-Chicana" persona shines through her passionate vocals while effortlessly playing fiddle.

"This performance is about finding a thread that links all of us together no matter what background we are from," Rodriguez said. "I can promise that it won't be like any other holiday performance you've ever seen."

Crossroads residents should support and applaud our performing artists and aspiring young talent.

And if these events are not in your repertoire of holiday experiences, then consider them must-see performances.

It will be the best gift you can give yourself this season.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.


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