Marigold show list delights this holiday season after years of COVID
CHELSEY GOULD TRURO NEWS chelsey.gould @saltwire.com
TRURO — A string of upcoming shows at the Marigold Cultural Centre are sure to make the holidays spirited and bright in Truro this season.
After years of limited performances and regaining the trust of existing in public spaces following COVID, the venue’s staff and volunteers are thrilled to see full bookings again.
“To look out over that, all the seats full and listen to people having a great time, it's just so heartwarming after what we went through for two years,” said executive director Farida Gabbani, of the busy venue.
There are a wide variety of shows coming up which offer something for everybody, said Gabbani.
For Brookfield couple and singer-songwriter duo, cellist Anne Janelle and ukulele player James Hill, their upcoming show is a long-awaited rebooking from last year. They will be premiering their wintertime re-envisioned Christmas carols and original songs.
“They're not sung or played in the typical kind of way, so it just sort of makes them new and special again,” said Janelle. “It's going to be kind of a mellow evening of a bunch of our favourite songs.”
They will be joined by local fiddler Meghan Isenor and violinist-fiddler Sarah Frank from Halifax with the goal to lift people’s spirits. Janelle said that it is admittedly early for them, but they think people are looking forward to something to be excited about. For those who can’t make it, another holiday concert on Dec. 17 (donation suggested) will be livestreamed on Youtube for people to tune in to watch from across the globe (information at annejanelle.com).
“It just feels really nice because it means that we can be ushering people into that Christmas spirit and winter spirit, the best of those things,” said Janelle. “That magical sense of generosity and caring for others, that human warmth that we tend to feel at this time of year just as the weather is changing.”
In support of United Way Colchester on Nov. 25 is Canadian Comedy Award-winning comedian Peter Anthony (originally from Pictou), sponsored by RBC, who will be opened by local Deb Barnhill. Returning back to the music scene as a group is the Spinney Brothers from Annapolis Valley on Nov. 26.
The Christmas tree will be up and decorated just in time for Bette Macdonald’s 15th 'Tis the Season. The four-day holiday - often sold-out - tradition with a hilarious take on the season, via a Cape Breton character performed by the award-winning Canadian comedian and actor. Each night is sponsored by a local business; this year's are Will Kare Paving & Contracting Ltd., Colchester Community Funeral Home, Wilsons Heating and Truro Nissan.
On Dec. 7 will be Juno award-winning singer-songwriter Catherine Maclellan bringing her and her father’s beautiful songs, with special guest Tanya Davis. Singersongwriter Lennie Gallant’s The Innkeeper's Christmas will be sponsored by Caldwell Roach on Dec. 8. Nova Scotia folk trio and multi-awardwinning siblings The Gilberts are on stage Dec. 10.
“A lot of people wouldn't know them or hear about them, but oh my God, we saw them at the music week in Sydney and they're fantastic, they're just amazing,” said Gabbani. “They do a lot of percussion stuff and a lot of singing and they're really good.”
Returning favourite Celtic group Còig is back on Dec. 14. On Dec. 16 powerhouse singer and writer Reeny Smith will be presenting her family Christmas show. Nova Scotia’s most festive drag queens will be donning their gay apparel on Dec. 17 with Dragstravaganza: Holiday Edition. On Dec. 21 touring star Carleton Stone will be performing with special guest Willie Stratton.
The Downtown Truro Partnership is also sponsoring two movie showings – Elf on Dec. 11 and another movie to be determined on Dec. 18.
Right now, some shows are selling out. However, even if some have to cancel due to being sick with one of the viruses going around, there is usually a hearty waiting list offering opportunities for others who ask. The venue also has optional masks and hand sanitizer available for those who wish to use them.
The staff of three are thankful for the volunteers, and everyone is thankful for the immense community support. Several shows are sponsored by local businesses and attended by many locals.
“The community is so good to us to sponsor shows because it helps us a little bit,” said Gabbani. “We're paying the artists and we don't always make money because we only have 200 seats to sell, so for the community to do that is great.”
And for performers, the Marigold stage is a favourite.
“James and I have played in a dozen countries all over the world ... we've played in many places,” said Janelle. “But the thing that I find really special about the Marigold is that there is this sense of community, there's a sense of warmth … we can really just showcase our music in the best way that we can. But there's also always this wonderfully warm audience that helps us to create this magical evening.”