Another year, another Christmas memory to make.
Freeport thespian power couple Becky and Tim Connors hope you make it with them at their annual holiday show, which has become a Christmas tradition in Freeport.
They call it their homemade Christmas card to the community.
Every year, the Connors put on a holiday show filled with heart-warming Christmas stories, humor and music to help get area residents into the holiday spirit.
The price of admission to these special evenings at Freeport High School's Jeanette Lloyd Theatre is $6 and a food donation to the Freeport Area Church Cooperative, which uses the donations to help keep the Freeport community healthy and feed throughout the holiday season. The $6 helps fund college scholarships for theater students.
Performances will be 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.
“This year marks our 23rd production of 'Christmas Memories,' and some members of the audience have seen it every single year,” Becky Connors said.
Tim Connor adds “Performing with other teachers and staff from FSD145 is so much fun.”
Freeport School District staff and family members Jody and Gary Brubaker, Becky and Tim Connors, Brooke Parkinson, Derek Simons and Laura Stocker make up the cast. Robert Winter, the technical director, has some surprises in store with holiday lighting.
“Being a part of Christmas Memories is my favorite way to kick off the holiday season," Stocker said. "No matter who you are, Christmas stories and songs remind us of the magic of possibilities. My favorite thing about being part of the show is spending time with friends who are like family. We're all teachers and, for some strange reason, all a little bit dramatic at times. We have the best time putting this special show together each year.”
Some of this year's stories include:
"Baboushka," a Baltic folk tale collected by Tommy dePaola, searches for the meaning of Christmas after being too worried about cleaning her little house.
In Ogden Nash’s "The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus," a spiteful child gets his comeuppance from Santa Claus.
Garrison Keillor (of “Prairie Home Companion” fame) dramatizes a hilarious-but-horrifying family holiday in "The Christmas of the Great Flu."
Freeport native Matt Bruehler has written two stories for this year’s performance. In "Chanukah Light," parents remember how their daughter saved the family Chanukah celebration by being resourceful, and a father and son reminisce about a neighbor’s hideous outdoor Christmas decorations in his punny "Christmas Eaves."
In Karen Engelmann’s "The Big Ballerina," three women agree not to worry about their weight during the holidays.
Traditional favorites such as "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (with a new twist) by Clement C. Moore and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss begin and end the show.
Music also is an important part of Christmas Memories. Each year, the cast sings a variety of holiday tunes from traditional carols, like "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," to jazzier standards like "Sleigh Ride," "The Man with a Bag" and "Silver Bells."
Audiences will also enjoy renditions of John Denver’s "A Christmas Wish," Bob Geldof’s "Do They Know It’s Christmas," and "We Are Santa’s Elves" (from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer).
In addition to vocals, the program features piano, guitar and flute.
To purchase tickets, call the Freeport High School business office at 232-0428 or go to FSD145.org/tickets.
This article originally appeared on Journal Standard: 'Christmas Memories' celebrates 23rd year of spreading holiday cheer