• Composer, Children’s Choir students join Kevin Purcell for “Child’s Christmas in Wales”

    November 15, 2019
    The Varsity is happy to present again this holiday season the classic Dylan Thomas holiday story “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” There will be two performances on Sunday, Dec. 15.

    Actor/director Kevin Purcell of Cobden performs the story, and select students from the Southern Illinois Children’s Choir will perform throughout the piece; they are directed by Michael Arthur. The musical underscore was written by Illinois composer Tim Schirmer, who will accompany the performances on piano.

    Each performance lasts about 45 minutes. Baldwin Piano and Organ Center is sponsoring both shows.
    “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” was written by Welshman Dylan Thomas, who is lauded as one of the greatest of the 20th-century poets. The story is a personal, nostalgic and often comical recollection of past Christmases, evoking memories at every turn: the warmth of a family gathering – including odd relatives, the loveliness of a mistletoe-decked home, cats by the fire and the mischief of children left to their own devices.

    In addition to more than 20 works for the concert stage, Schirmer has composed extensively for the theater – including 10 musicals, underscores for more than 50 plays and incidental music for more than 30 productions by the Tony-nominated American Players Theatre. His film/video work includes a score for the award-winning documentary “The Greatest Lakes.”

    Purcell, a graduate of SIU, has been performing “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” every holiday season around the United States since 1977. He has worked professionally in Seattle and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest. He recently directed “The Yellow Wallpaper” for The Varsity.

    Arthur is the assistant director and accompanist of the Southern Illinois Children’s Choir. He plays keyboards for Lone Howl, and teaches privately.

    Performances of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" are at 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students with ID, and $2 for children 10 and younger.

    Advance tickets are available at www.thevarsitycenter.eventbrite.com. Tickets are not available in advance at the venue but will be available when doors open on the day of the show at 2:30. The Varsity Bar and Concessions will be open for sales of wine, beer, soda, non-alcoholic beverages, and snacks.

    The Varsity is downtown Carbondale at 418 S. Illinois Ave. To keep up with all upcoming events, go to www.facebook.com/varsitycenter.
    Cara Recine