By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma City University’s performing arts colleges will present its “Home for the Holidays” dance spectacular and the Christmas Vespers concert in December.
“Home for the Holidays” will be held in the Kirkpatrick Auditorium, N.W. 24th Street and Blackwelder Avenue, on the OCU campus. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Dec. 5, 6, 7, and 8, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 7. Tickets for the performances are $29 for reserved seats, or $18 each for groups of eight or more.
Under the direction of Jo Rowan, the dance spectacular will feature some favorite Christmas traditions with dynamic rhythms and choreography. Toy Soldiers will come alive showing off their fast tapping feet, while special guest, “Tony the Pony”, takes the audience for an unforgettable sleigh ride.
The program will also include the debut of “Little Chip”, a singing and dancing chipmunk, who will delight kids of all ages.
OCU’s own dance group, the Starettes will perform new kicklines while the contemporary ballet will feature intricate partnering moves. The show will also include a swinging jive number that will keep the audience on their toes.
An annual tradition for families across the state, “Home for the Holidays” combines the vision of OCU’s American Spirit Dance Company’s nationally recognized choreographers with the premier talent of the nation’s best dancers to create an experience as thrilling as those on Broadway.
“Home for the Holidays is Christmas magic, a joyful season’s greeting to share with the entire family,” Rowan said. “There’s no need to buy a plane ticket to New York City — our performers are Broadway bound. Enjoy these future Broadway dancers while they are still performing in Oklahoma City. The show is as slick and fast-paced as anything you would see on the professional stage.”
OCU senior Bond Bourquien, destined for Radio City Music Hall according to Rowan, will be performing in this year’s production of “Home for the Holidays” as a Starette.
“The Starettes are kicking off this holiday season with a precise, high energy number that includes iconic moves inspired by the Radio City Rockettes,” Bond said. “It is such a treat to be able to work with professor Vincent Sandoval who was a performer and also an assistant director and choreographer for the Rockettes. Expect to see great style, poise and many eye-high kicks.”
Rowan says the show will culminate with “a call for Peace on Earth is followed by a choral performance of ‘Silent Night’ and a nativity with Mary, Joseph, angels, and the pageant of the three kings to provide a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.”
Artists in the American Spirit Dance Company hail from OCU’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Entertainment, the nation’s premier musical theatre dance program. It has been ranked as the number-one Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) dance program in the nation by OnStage. This destination collegiate program has alumni credits in more than 86 Broadway musicals and has produced 50 Radio City Rockettes and counting.
Playbill ranked Oklahoma City University among this year’s Top 10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway.
OnStage noted, “In our opinion, no other college in the country is doing a better job of preparing versatile dancers for this industry than the Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Entertainment at Oklahoma City University.”
More than 250 instrumentalists and choral singers will join talents for Oklahoma City University’s 41st annual Christmas Vespers at First Presbyterian Church, 1001 NW 25th Street. The program will be presented in an evening version at 8 p.m. Dec. 6, and a 4 p.m. Dec. 7 matinee, both beneath the glow of First Presbyterians’ renowned stained glass windows. Open seating tickets are $15.
The holiday season concerts will feature sing-a-long carols, ancient choral music and a candlelight finale. Both concerts will conclude with “Night of Silence,” the traditional candlelight recessional inspired by “Silent Night.”
The program, designed around the theme “To God the Glory,” will feature John Rutter’s “Te Deum” and “Gloria” by Randol Bass. The OCU Symphony Orchestra will perform with four vocal ensembles — University Singers, Ad Astra Women’s Chorus, the University Chorale and the Chamber Choir, under the direction of Randi Von Ellefson and Tony Gonzalez.
Performers will include university organist Melissa Plamann and the OCU Vespers Orchestra, under the direction of Jeffrey Grogan. This year’s narrator will be Dr. B. Craig Stinson.
Tickets for both productions are available online at okcu.edu/tickets or by calling 405-208-5227.