MINTY: ‘Choralation’ in Surrey, and Harmon-y news about a kid-focused ‘Hamelin’ play

'Surrey Sings' event becomes workshop at Northwood United Church

Axis Theatre’s production of “Hamelin: A New Fable” plays Surrey Arts Centre's main stage this Saturday afternoon

SURREY — Music has charms that can tame the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak, poet William Congreve wrote in 1697. That little ditty is often misquoted as savage “beast,” but you get the idea. Music can be very calming and soothing, if you are listening to the right type of music, of course. Studies done in this field indicate that listening to Mozart is good for studying. Dogs are calmed by Jamaican and soft rock. No doubt about it, music affects our mood and emotions. Mozart works according to my personal tests, but I am not sure about the dog bit though.

For several years, the Arts Council of Surrey celebrated the joy of singing with a concert, Surrey Sings, presenting several choirs in Surrey. Very successful, and a great performance opportunity for participating groups. This year, Surrey Sings is going to be a workshop for singers and choral groups. Choralation 2017 is on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Northwood United Church, 8855 156th St., in Fleetwood. “We heard from the groups participating in Surrey Sings that they wanted more of a workshop rather than a performance,” says Maxine Howchin, vice-president of the arts council. Thus Choralation, a celebration of choral work.

Groups are invited, but individuals are welcome too.  Since this workshop runs from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., the arts council is providing snacks and drinks, so they would like you to register by Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day), so they know how many snacks to provide. This also ensures your space. This is a fantastic opportunity for choral groups to interact with each other, and learn from each other. Charlie Metzler will co-ordinate the participants in a mass number. Admission is by donation. Call 604-594-2700 to register, and share the joy of singing.

Some people enjoy more than just singing. They want to add movement and acting to the music, and there we have a musical. Surrey Civic Theatres and Surrey International Children’s Festival present Axis Theatre’s production of “Hamelin: A New Fable.” This is a high-energy musical retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It’s ideal for children aged five to 12; grownups welcome, too. Singing, masks, live music and a lot of comedic physicality are all part of Axis Theatre’s unique style.

The show plays for one day only at Surrey Arts Centre’s main stage this Saturday (Feb. 4) at 2 p.m. Tickets are only $15, including all box office fees (CLICK HERE for details). For kids with inquiring minds (and don’t they all have that), there will be a short talk-back session with the actors after the show. It will be an hour well spent.

One actor you might like to question in the talk-back is Ian Harmon. He comes from a performing-arts family and his dad, Rick Harmon, is well known after dedicating decades of theatrical direction at Earl Marriott Secondary, FVGSS and, now, Beach House Theatre. While growing up, Ian saw many of his dad’s shows at Surrey Arts Centre, but this show marks his first time performing there. Welcome home, Ian!

The younger Harmon (pictured) has performed all over this country with Axis Theatre, Kaleidoscope Theatre, Green Thumb Theatre, Chemainus Theatre Festival, Gateway Theatre and Presentation House. His film and television work includes “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Twilight Saga,” “Minority Report,” “Cult” and “Once Upon a Time.” Ian holds a BFA in acting from UBC and is a graduate of the Douglas College theatre program. Wow.

I am singing out praises for Surrey Little Theatre’s production of “Twelve Angry Men.” Absolutely sensational.  For Lance Peverley, editor of Peace Arch News, the show marks the first time he has directed live theatre, although he has done extensive work in film. Congrats to Lance and also to Conor Brand, who is making his stage debut as an actor. Conor happens to have graduated from Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, where Ian Harmon also went to school. Super well done.

The rest of the cast and crew are seasoned veterans of the community theatre scene, and each person captured a character so perfectly that it kept the audience spellbound. Honest, it’s excellent.

“Twelve Angry Men” runs at Surrey Little Theatre until Feb. 25, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday matinees. Email, call 604-576-8451 or visit Get your tickets now, and when you get to the theatre, do not park on the street across from the theatre. The city has posted no-parking signs all along the east side of 184th Street. This makes it a challenge to find parking, but still doable. I wonder, is this the beginning of the city’s plan to get SLT to move to another location? Just asking.


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