ACT Windsor’s Home For The Holidays Concert A Harmonious Christmas Experience

(Krisalyn Bell (front left) singing during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)

Windsor’s Arts Collective Theatre’s plan to prepare the city for the holidays, with its Home For The Holidays, A Celebration of Christmas Concert, truly enchants. If not mostly for the quality of the entertainers it has lined up for its two days of concert singing along with food in the form of a bake sale and raffle.

Kathleen Rutherford-Costa ACT Windsor Christmas Concert

Kathleen Rutherford-Costa singing during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Home is a most appropriate theme for this unique Christmas Celebration if only because the event takes place at ACT’s new home. The theatre company has a permanent address at downtown’s All Saints Church, one of the oldest churches in the nation.

It is also the first permanent residence for the five-year old theatre company with a conscience. And that social conscience was more than evident on its choice of hymns and songs Friday night.

Meagan Badih, Lakshmi Tharuvai, and Patricia Arndt performing at ACT Windsor's Christmas Concert

Meagan Badih, Lakshmi Tharuvai, and Patricia Arndt performing during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

ACT lined up some of the beloved actors and singers from its previous works, including the popular Michael Rice, better known as the cowardly lion in its production of the Wiz. Rice will soon be seen in ACT’s next mayor production, Aida, the Timeless Love Story, which will run from April 17 to 26 at the Capitol Theatre.

Kathleen Rutherford-Costa and Michael Rice ACT Windsor Home For The Holidays Christmas Concert

Kathleen Rutherford-Costa and Michael Rice singing during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Rice and the other ACT veterans were joined by the theatre company’s new friends, newcomers to an ACT stage, such as Krisalyn Bell and Lakshmi Tharuvaj. Bell, who has sung in church choirs before, tells Eyes on Windsor that this is her first time appearing as a solo performer.

Krisalyn Bell ACT Windsor Christmas Concert

Krisalyn Bell lighting a candle during during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Lakshmi Tharuvaj ACT Windsor Christmas Concert

Lakshmi Tharuvaj singing during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

In a night with so many highlights one was particularly memorable. Courtlin Ducre, Cheri McCurdy, Leslie McCurdy and Linda McCurdy took the inspirational song Amen to new heights.

Courtlin Ducre, Cheri McCurdy, Leslie McCurdy and Linda McCurdy ACT Windsor Christmas Concert

Courtlin Ducre, Cheri McCurdy, Leslie McCurdy and Linda McCurdy singing during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

ACT President and creative director Chris Rabideau tells Eyes on Windsor such songs would have been performed in the church over a hundred and fifty years ago, particularly as American slaves, traveling during the last days of the Underground Railroad arrived in Windsor seeking sanctuary. It is a fact, he says, that really moved him to be in the same building so many years later.

Kathleen Rutherford-Costa and Chris Rabideau, ACT’s President and Creative Director,

Kathleen Rutherford-Costa and Chris Rabideau, ACT’s President and Creative Director, during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Rabideau also served as the evening’s narrator with reflections and stories adding continuity to the evening and explaining what the songs mean to the Christmas tradition.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the night was the incredible range of voices and the equally incredible range of the singers. Each song was personally selected by each singer and offered an incredible trip through some of the most traditional and beloved songs of the 20th Century.

Ashley Marchi ACT Windsor Christmas Concert

Ashley Marchi singing during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Jacob Wilson ACT Windsor Home For The Holidays Christmas Concert

Jacob Wilson singing during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

ACT Windsor Christmas Concert singers Kathleen Rutherford-Costa and Michael Rice

Kathleen Rutherford-Costa and Michael Rice (left) with other cast members who sang during Arts Collective Theatre’s Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert at All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Windsor on Friday, December 13, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

There is nothing better than being home with old and new friends. The organization itself relishes the potential to bring people together. Its overarching goal is to enhance the well-being of the Windsor Essex community through theatre education, mentorship, and increasing social justice issues awareness.

Although, these are certainly noble goals, having them as the guiding philosophy has allowed ACT to live up to its mandate with exceptional programs. Home for the Holidays is proof of its ability to charm and delight while also focusing on its message.

Saturday’s concert (Dec 14) is scheduled for 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm at All Saints Church, 330 City Hall Square W. For more information visit the ACT Windsor Presents Home For The Holidays A Celebration of Christmas Concert event listing or visit http://actwindsor.ca

Robert Tuomi

Article by Robert Tuomi

For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.