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Christmas concerts, trees and theatrical events coming to Dearborn arts center

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The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center will be kicking off several weeks of events celebrating the holidays with tonight's “A Night to Remember” concert. The center at 15801 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn will feature Christmas trees, a holiday boutique, concerts, and “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” and “Miracle on 34th Street" in this year's holiday calendar.

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Thurlow Spurr and the Christian Ministries International Michigan/Ohio Concert Choir is presenting its Christmas celebration tour through this region for the 40th year. The tickets for tonight's 7:30 p.m. concert ($22 reserved, $24 premium and $32 Maestro Circle) can be purchased at the Michael A. Guido Theater Box Office, or by calling (800) 993-7464 or visiting www.cmichoir.org.

Nov. 18 will be the kickoff for the Festival of Trees, which will take place in the Hubbard Ballroom through Nov. 25. The fundraiser displays professionally-designed trees, locally-designed trees, individually-designed centerpieces, a festive gift shop and more. Admission will be $5 ($3 for children and seniors), with proceeds from the event going to the Children's Hospital of Michigan.

The festival will start with the Dearborn Community Arts Council's preview p“ART”y on the theater mezzanine from 2-5 p.m. on Nov. 18. The Festival of Trees will be holding its own VIP preview party on Saturday evening in the dome room.

The $75 tickets for the VIP preview in the Hubbard Ballroom, according to Dearborn Theater Manager Martin Zbosnik, are available by going to the Festival of Trees website. The $15 reservations for the DCAC family event, which can be obtained at (313) 943-3095 or sgreene@ci.dearborn.mi.us, include admission to the Festival of Trees, gourmet food and refreshments, and being the first to shop the Holiday Boutique in the art gallery (10 percent discount on all purchases).

“We have a lot going on this year,” Dearborn Theater Manager Martin Zbosnik said. “The Padjzieski Art Gallery brings in lots of art from various local artists, and they have a holiday gift shop throughout season up until the day before Christmas, and they've got some great Christmas gifts—I always buy something every year as in great glass, blown things that are really good.

“But they have all types of art at pretty affordable prices, pretty reasonable. So that's kind of nice to do your Christmas shopping, and you have the 10 percent discount on all purchases when you buy on the first day of their event,” Zbosnik said.

On Nov. 20, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held at the Center starting at 6 p.m. Free to the public, the big tree will be lighted in front of the center, and there will be concert done by various groups, Sing-A-Long with the mayor, free admission to the Festival of Trees, free coffee and donuts, and a showing of the film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

The 26-minute film will be the Chuck Jones-animated version, with Boris Karloff doing one of the voice overs, said Zbosnik, “one of the original MGM classics.” Performing groups will be the Dearborn Youth Symphony Strings & Brass and the Dearborn Public Schools' Honors Choir.

After the mayor and special-needs child does the tree lighting, everyone will move indoors by 7 p.m. for the holiday movie and sing-a-long in the Guido Theater. The refreshments in the main lobby, a visit with Santa Claus in Studio A, and free tour of the Hubbard Ballroom exhibits will follow from 8-9:30 p.m.

In the following week, the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra will perform the ballet “The Nutcracker” from Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Snowflakes and sugar plums, a magic prince, a dreamy young girl, a mysterious old man, and a magic Christmas tree that grows sky high are featured in this timeless Yuletide fantasy; performed by the Ballet Americana Dance Co. with principal dancers from the New York City Ballet, and American Ballet Theater. Tickets to the 8 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday performances in the Guido Theater are $12-26.

“Always we do quite well with that,” Zbosnik said. “Then in the following week, Dec. 8, we have the holiday choral festival, which is another of our big well-attended events.

“On Dec. 9, we have a stopover by the 'Miracle on 34th Street,' the full production of that play, the script and score by Meredith Willson, who wrote the 'Music Man,'” he said.

The holiday events conclude in the Guido Theater with “Sounds of the Season” by the Motor City Brass Band at 3 p.m. on Dec. 16. Troupe America Inc.'s “Miracle on 34th Street” musical has a 4 p.m. Sunday staging of the traditional holiday film story on a good-willed Kris Kringle working in Macy's Department Store, who finds himself the center of controversy when he proclaims himself to be the real Santa Claus.

The 7 p.m. holiday choral features the Dearborn Community Chorus and Vanguard Voices, with the Vanguard Brass Ensemble.

“It's quite a complete evening of entertainment,” Zbosnik said. “We'll be doing 'Handel's Messiah,' quite a few numbers from that one, which is always quite popular, and directed by Kevin Dewey, which is always a top quality concert."

The tickets for this holiday choral range from $15-10 ($5 for students, with group rates available through Nov. 9). Ticket prices range from $25-28 for “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “Sounds of the Season” will be charge $17 admission ($15 seniors and students, free for children under 12).

For tickets or more information on these events, call the Box Office at (313) 943-2354, or visit www.dearborntheater.com

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