Friday, September 22, 2023

Critics’ Picks: 5 Events to Attend (or Livestream) this December

In a typical December, audiences are overwhelmed with fantastic choices of holiday performances and outings. From local markets to concerts, the options can seem endless. This December, arts organizations are increasingly focused on fundraising activities. Many of the events below not only present great talent, but also offer the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to help artists and organizations- both within a physical and artistic community- weather the ongoing challenges caused by this pandemic.

Help Build the Farm: A Virtual Concert Event (Ladybird Animal Sanctuary)

In celebration of the animal rescue’s tenth anniversary, Ladybird Animal Sanctuary presents a fundraising concert, bringing together some incredible Canadian talent on December 1. Hosted by CBC’s Tom Power, the 7pm concert, streamed on Facebook promises Joel Plaskett, Whitehorse, Terra Lightfoot, Chris Murphy (Sloan) and others. An 8:30pm Members-only concert on Zoom offers music from Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams, and Jim Cuddy, to name a few. Memberships start at $84/year, which not only includes both virtual concerts, but also helps to continue the work of the Hamilton-based animal rescue. The concert marks the start of Ladybird’s capital campaign to finally build the sanctuary a much-needed physical home.

Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre’s Opening Night Virtual Benefit (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre)

While lockdowns have meant that travel and in-person shows are difficult to participate in, it has also opened an opportunity for artists and arts organizations to significantly impact their geographical footprint by expanding online to new audiences. Case in point- the legendary Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre will present a free live stream featuring the Company and special guests in a virtual performance on December 2 at 7:30pm. The programme, Revelations, promises to be a “topical, enduring and seminal choreographic work,” with a dance party to follow. While it’s free to register to attend, donations to sustain the Theatre’s young people programs are highly encouraged. 

Light the Night (Cotton Factory)

This choice isn’t quite a show; however, The Cotton Factory continues to serve the artistic community in Hamilton, while simultaneously cementing its place as a hub of activity in the east end; and Light the Night is a perfect example. Over the course of three days from December 3-5, The Cotton Factory, in conjunction with the Barton Street BIA will light up the exterior of 270 Sherman Avenue with lights and decorations, inviting the public to drive-through displays alongside the building, its pathways and parking lot from 6-9pm on each night. It’s free to attend, and promises to provide some holiday warmth and community spirit in this unusual season.  

Sam Weber (Supercrawl)

Following a successful series of live streamed concerts this fall, Supercrawl has announced a December series, featuring Terra Lightfoot (December 30), The Dirty Nil (December 19) and Tim Hicks (December 12). However, the real standout is BC-born Sam Weber, who is no stranger to Hamilton audiences. As talented with a guitar as he is with evocative and honest lyrics, the December 5 concert at 7pm streamed from Supercrawl’s Facebook page is sure to strike a chord with audience members. While his most recent album was released in 2019, Weber sings about current events and activities impacting his life; much of which will likely be familiar to any pandemic-fatigued audiences. In the spirit of Supercrawl, all concerts in the series are free to watch online. 

Walk Off the Earth (Sound of Music Festival)

Burlington-based and Juno award winning band Walk off the Earth return to Burlington for a unique performance at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on December 28 at 7:30pm. While the live performance is already sold out, tickets to a simulcasted live stream are still available. Presented by Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival, the evening promises not just performances, but also onstage interviews with band members. The concert and live stream are also a fundraiser for the Festival, which (like many arts organizations) took a financial hit this year due to the pandemic; ticket revenue will go towards the organization’s recovery efforts.

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