A Christmas Carol an opus for peace on Earth
A Stephen Beardwood & Robyn Ableson Production
Stephen Beardwood & Robyn Ableson Productions is a premier production community based in Gananoque and was formed in August 2009. The company was formed following the sharing of a concept for a musical adaption, of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol using traditional Christmas music. The entire script is sung to traditional Christmas music and has taken a year to write. It is written by local artists Stephen (Stefen) Beardwood, Instrumental Guitarist and Robyn Ableson, Gananoque Secondary School (GSS) music and drama teacher.
Stephen Beardwood has been teaching guitar in Gananoque since 2002 until present. He has been playing guitar for 30 years. He began writing for Deanna Lyn Productions in 2008 when he wrote and performed “Don’t Give up Your Dreams” the feature song in a puppet show fundraiser for the Festival of the Islands. Stephen then completed a second and third song for Deanna Lyn Productions 2010, Colours of the Butterfly and Jack and the Beanstalk and the Guitar. He is presently working on a forth song for Deanna Lyn Productions. Stephen has had, and still, teaches several developmentally handicapped students and physically handicapped students. Many have limited used of hands and arms, or degrading use of hands and arms (from Muscular Dystrophy) several have Autism. The focus in teaching these students is to accept the skills they come with and develop these skills accordingly for guitar and other instruments, using modified fingering techniques and open chord tuning concepts. Stephen began working with Robyn on an Easter production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2006. They have worked with each other on several projects since then. Stephen is a sitting member of FAB Arts.
Robyn Ableson has been involved in music in the Gananoque community since 1998 when she started as the organist and choir director at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. In her second year she directed the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and has since directed two other productions for the church, including Jesus Christ Superstar, when she met Stephen. On a day-to-day basis, Mrs. Ableson teaches music and drama at Gananoque Secondary School. This has led her, working with the talented students and staff of the school, to direct and produce Grease and Little Shop of Horrors since 2002. She has a passion for developing musical talent and opportunities for younger children as well: her high school band tours every year to the local elementary schools, giving the audience a chance to touch and play instruments they have never seen before. Many grade 6-8 students have also taken up instrument for the first time when they’ve joined the after-school band Mrs. Ableson began at a local elementary school. As part of her mission to help foster music in the community, she also teaches voice and piano to several outstanding students, who have competed at music festivals at both the regional and provincial level.
Frontenac Arch Biosphere Arts (FAB Arts)
FAB Arts is a network of arts-oriented people, organizations and businesses in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere region. There is a shared sense that they have a distinctive landscape that helps give rise to a unique artistic voice. There is a view that the area is little-known beyond our borders as a cultural destination. Many feel that the economic potential of arts-related activities is insufficiently understood and underdeveloped within the FAB region. We, and others, see the potential for activities that will improve communication within the arts community, build partnerships across our many types of local councils and clubs, and enable us to communicate arts messages to wider potential audiences. Overall there is a sense that the special biosphere region to which we are connected offers a unique way to collaborate on Arch-wide activities that respect sustainability goals while celebrating the region.
Using the philosophy nurtured though FAB Arts to promote the arts Stephen Beardwood, Robyn Ableson Production is inviting GSS students to participate in this musical production though a mentoring initiative. Music, Drama and Art students from GSS (and other high schools) are being offered to participate in all aspects of the production as students. Here they will have the opportunity to apprentice with experienced musicians, actors, set designers etc. In exchange for community service hours which they need to graduate. It is hoped that through their experiences they will develop their own talents and have a closer look at the arts as a career choice.