This season’s performance calendar at the Franco-American Heritage Center is an unusually busy one. In fact, the month of December alone will feature seven Christmas concerts in a three-week span, beginning on Saturday, December 1 with a performance by local singers Just Us Entertainers.
“This is going to be a very busy place for three weeks,” said Franco Center executive director Louis Morin, who noted that with one exception, a concert by the Boston String Quartet on December 20, all of these Christmas shows will feature mostly local artists who live within a half-hour drive. “We’re blessed here in Maine with a wealth of musical and artistic talent, and we’ll be showcasing some of the best of it this holiday season.”
Morin also said that, during a season in which people are spending more on heating oil, not to mention Christmas gifts, the Franco Center is mindful that ticket prices should remain low. In the hope that patrons will be able to attend more than one holiday concert, no ticket to any show between now and Christmas will cost more than $20 – and most of them will be less than that.
The Center’s holiday season will kick off with Just Us Entertainers, a group of over 20 friends and their family members who span three generations. The group, which has been performing at the Franco Center virtually since it opened in 2000, is directed by Nel Meservier, who volunteers many hours at the Franco Center each year as a stage manager and technical assistant.
They will do two shows: one on Saturday, December 1st at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee performance at 2 p.m. the following day. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under.
On Friday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m., the Franco Center will host a concert by mezzo-soprano Joëlle Morris, a native of France who now lives in Winthrop. Morris, a classically trained singer who holds a Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Denver University’s Lamont Conservatory, has not shied away from other musical genres. She has toured with the Jean-Marie Reboul Jazz Trio in France and Switzerland and has performed a wide variety of popular, traditional, and classical French songs at Franco Center concerts in recent years.
For her first Christmas concert at the Center, she’ll be accompanied by pianist Bridget Convey, who also serves as accompanist for the Maine Music Society. A portion of the concert will feature carols from France and Quebec, with Morris singing in French. Tickets for this show are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and students.
For a complete list of holiday concerts at the Franco Center, see www.francocenter.org. Tickets may be purchased at the site 24-hours a day or by calling (207) 689-2000. Patrons may also avoid credit or debit card processing fees by paying with cash or check at the Franco Center box office from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.