New features for Christmas at the Opera House

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Participants in a new children’s dance troupe will perform at Christmas at the Opera House on Dec. 4. A community choir, Southeastern High School’s band and choir, and other small ensembles also will perform.

(Posted Nov. 4, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Christmas at the Opera House returns to South Charleston with a few new twists.

Traditionally, the performance features a community choir, the Southeastern High School band, and other small vocal and instrumental ensembles. This year, a children’s dance troupe is in the mix, too, along with the high school choir.

“We anticipate some other surprise/interesting performances, but those are not finalized yet,” said Carol Wildman, who is new to organizing the event but who has provided piano accompaniment in the past and directed various other choirs and music programs over the years.

This year’s performance is set for Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Opera House located on the second floor at town hall, 35 S. Chillicothe St. The South Charleston Heritage Commission, which operates and maintains the opera house, is installing a new stair lift, making the facility accessible to everyone. In a change from years past, the commission is offering one performance time instead of two. Admission is free. A donation box will be located in the lobby with all proceeds going to the commission.

“We’re going with one performance this year mostly because our numbers for the community choir are smaller than usual,” Carol said. “We have 10 to 15 in the choir this year, about half as many as usual. Most are returning members.”

She said some who declined to participate this year cited concerns about COVID-19 risks.

“We are taking as much precautions as we can. We’re spreading out at rehearsals and all singing in the same direction,” she said.

Carol welcomes anyone who would like to be part of the choir, can read music, and is comfortable with jumping in and learning quickly. The group rehearses on Sundays at 5 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 15 N. Chillicothe St. Anyone interested need only show up to rehearsals.

Likewise, Kim Wildman, Carol’s daughter, welcomes any children who would like to be part of the dance troupe. Practices take place on Thursdays (except Thanksgiving) at Gilbert’s Youth Center, 65 S. Chillicothe St.: 5:30-6 p.m. for ages 3-5, 6-6:45 for ages 6-9, and 6:45-7:30 for ages 10 and older.

“I just thought it would be nice to get the kids involved in something,” said Kim who grew up in South Charleston and owns Dance Loft Plus in Xenia. “I wanted to give back to the community now that I’ve moved back to the area.”

Participants are learning general dance movements with hints of ballet. Each age group will perform a number at Christmas at the Opera House.

“The movements are easy and quick to learn and fun to do. It’s a creative dance style,” Kim said.

For more information about the dance troupe, contact Kim via text at (937) 605-1479 or via Facebook Messenger (search for “Kimberly Wildman”).

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