A Mary Verdi Christmas at the Colonial

The Berkshire Family Focus
November 27, 2012
By Jenn Smith

PITTSFIELD – When it came to looking for inspiration to write an original holiday song among the countless tunes that are out there, local singer-songwriter Mary Verdi only had to look out her window, and “Christmas Time” was born:

Snow is falling, streets are calm. Here we are, at peace.

Christmas lights still shining bright. There is hope this night.

“I wrote this in January, after my first Christmas show,” said Verdi.

“I was staring out the window with the snow falling. I knew then I really wanted to remind people that Christmas is a special time to stop and be thankful for everything and to spend time together. That’s my message,” she said.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, Verdi will return to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield to present her third holiday show. This time she’s bringing special guest and fellow Berkshire County musician Tony Lee Thomas on stage with her, as well as 50 to 60 other musicians — from her seven-piece band to the Craneville Children’s Chorus, plus the jolly man in red himself, Mr. Santa Claus.

“I felt so excited when I was asked to be part of this. I felt like I was going to scream,” said fifth-grader and Craneville Chorus member Madeline Naef. “It makes me feel important (to have been asked), and special because my family will be there celebrating the holiday with me.”

According to a promotional statement for the show, “’Christmas at the Colonial with Mary Verdi’ has become a cornerstone event in the Berkshires.” This year, the Colonial has decided to offer audiences two show times for the program, at 2 p.m. matinée and 7 p.m. show on Saturday.

“Every year you try to change it a little bit, so we’re doing a few new things,” said Verdi.

In deciding the set list for the show, Verdi turned to her Facebook fans and, by popular poll, will be performing Christmas time standards like “Let it Snow,” “No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” and the 1992 country/Christian contemporary hit, “Mary, Did You Know?”

Also new to the program will be a group of seven young violinists from Berkshire Music School, who will lend their talents to a performance of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Canon,” including the groups smallest member, 7-year-old Nicholas Fu.

“My father was a symphony conductor, so I have a soft spot in my heart for young violin players,” Verdi said. “This little guy, I am putting on a box to make sure the audience can enjoy his playing —what a doll!”

Verdi said she began writing the Christmas show in August to accommodate for all the guest performers and special surprises.

“Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. It’s a time to come together with family and celebrate the birth of Jesus and remember what the holiday spirit is all about,” she said.

“Christmas at the Colonial with Mary Verdi and special guest Tony Lee Thomas” is set for Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 16. The Colonial is located at 111 South St. in Pittsfield. For tickets and information go online to berkshiretheatregroup.org.

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