Starbright Christmas shines ‘brilliantly’

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It's Christmas season in Sarnia-Lambton.

If the Celebration of Lights and this week's upcoming Kinsmen Christmas Parade weren't enough, director David Hogan and Starbright have cemented the deal with their four-show only production of Starbright Christmas 2010, which debuted in Sarnia this year as last.

And David Rogers, as one of the show's star singers more than hinted, Sarnia's Imperial Theatre for the Arts is likely to maintain its venue as the first stop in the Starbright Christmas annual event.

Missed it? There's one more performance tonight (Sunday, Nov. 28) at 8 p.m.

A talented group of vocalists on stage is quite one thing. Add in the talents of the four Murray children (from Seaforth, Ont.) and select appearances by the Seaway Sounds Sweet Adelines Chorus and the Sarnia Bluewater Chordsmen plus St. Michaels Youth Choir and the Christmas picture couldn't have been painted any brighter.

Which was really the point.

The Starbright "ensemble" of Rogers, Brian Belleth, Mark Cassius (remember him in the Nylons?), June Crowley, Susan Gilmour, Rebecca Poff, and the venerable Lorraine Foreman (along with Musical Director Mark Payne at piano) began strong with "I'll Be Home for Christmas," which set the tone.

From there it was one exceptionally well rehearsed and seamless flow from song to song, with the theme of "the reason for the season" firmly entrenched.

Female performances by Gilmour, Poff and Crowley were polished and wardrobe changes blended very nicely with the lavish Christmas tree and "cold fog" outdoors effect.

And Lorraine Foreman threatened to steal the show as she came on stage more than halfway through the first act.

But the male performers were also given the spotlight they deserved, notably Belleth and Cassius, with Rogers playing the prominent role of singer/host throughout.

A small orchestra consisting of Dan Baerg (drums), Alex Baerg (guitar), Mark Laidman (bass) and John Yu (keyboards) made this year's Starbright Christmas a show a brilliant boost to the Christmas spirit.

Starlight will be back of course, notably for its New Year's Eve performance at the Imperial Theatre, hosted by Timothy Murphy as "Joan Rivers." Tickets are available by calling (519) 344-7469.

By J.D. BOOTH

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