Post Independent Arts Writer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
What are those holiday memories – those songs, writings, movies, TV shows and theatrical productions – that touch your heart the most?
The Post Independent asked a few people in the local arts and entertainment world about their favorite holiday moments. We received a range of replies.
Glenwood Springs fine art painter Mary Noone has lots of good memories of Christmas.
“I love Christmas! It is my kind of holiday,” she proclaimed. “It comes with a soundtrack!”
Noone recalled that it’s a toast that was part of a 1939 radio show recording that sets the holiday mood in motion for her.
“It’s a toast I give every Christmas dinner,” Noone said. “It comes from an ancient recording that my family had of Lionel Barrymore in ‘A Christmas Carol.'”
“Christmas is the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year when men and women seem content to open their hearts freely. And therefore, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good, and I say God bless it!”
“Amen to that,” added Noone. “Pass the fruitcake!”
China Kwan, managing director of Colorado Mountain College Theatre in Glenwood Springs, says a unique rendition of a classic Christmas song rates right up there among her favorite musical memories. It’s “The Little Drummer Boy” as sung by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.
“Who would have thought that this unusual, mismatched duo would turn out something so amazingly wonderful?”
For Misty Frontella, a jewelry designer and one of six owners of the Midland Arts Company in Rifle, the holidays and the TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” always go together.
“Charlie Brown and his little Christmas tree and Snoopy playing tricks … it’s what I immediately think of when I think of the holidays.”
Aly Sanguily of the Performing Arts Center at the Third Street Center (PAC3) says the holidays are all about creating the most outrageously decorated Christmas tree possible – with a certain holiday movie running in the background.
“My brother, sister and I would decorate my grandmother’s tree every year. We always made it as colorful, chaotic and festive as possible, while watching our favorite Christmas movie, ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.’
“To this day, when I am decorating my tree with my soon-to-be-husband, I put on the movie and follow the ‘Be artistic! There are no rules!’ motto that my grandmother gave us when we were kids.
“Every year our tree gets brighter and louder, just the way she would have liked it, and National Lampoon’s ‘Christmas Vacation’ is still my favorite.”
The Peanuts gang got another vote for Charlie Brown’s memorable holiday TV show from Diane Quarles, glass artist and media coordinator at Gallery 809 in Glenwood Springs. She remembers how her father reacted to Charles Schultz’s vintage 1965 cartoon.
“Christmas is so much about memories of holidays past. When ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ lights up the TV screen around this time of year, I can still see my dad’s smile and hear his warm laughter whenever Snoopy decorates the doghouse.
“Even in the tougher years, Snoopy would always bring a smile to his face. We all love Snoopy and that droopy, yet adorable Christmas tree!”
For Amy Kimberly, executive director of the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, “A Christmas Carol” is, as it is for Mary Noone, a favorite memory, but in a much different interpretation. For Kimberly, substitute Mr. Magoo for Lionel Barrymore.
“Being a good Jewish girl with heavy Catholic Italians on one side, Christmas always meant Italian cookies, Mr. Magoo’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ and my uncle dressed as Santa Claus, happy on rum.
“Mr. Magoo’s version of this age-old story is hands-down my favorite and what I most looked forward to around Christmas.”
Alice Beauchamp, director of Colorado Mountain College’s ArtShare program in Glenwood Springs, remembered the stand-in hearth her mother made to create a sweet artistic memory of the past.
“When I was a small child, my mom made a fake fireplace out of cardboard for my brothers and me for Christmas. She decorated the mantel, hung our stockings from it, and painted a warm glowing fire. I remember it as beautiful. I love how the holidays bring out the creativity in people.”
Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities operations manager Holly Gressett only has to travel a little ways up Highway 82 to see a well-loved holiday ballet.
“To launch my holiday season, I go to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s production of ‘The Nutcracker.’ The festive music, spectacular dancing, fabulous props, and adorable children give me a sense of nostalgia and put me in a very festive mood.”
And John Goss, founder of the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, got a reminder one Christmas of how he brightened other people’s lives through his work as a song-and-dance man.
“I have so many memories, having done over 15 Christmas shows over the past 25 years, but the most ironic story that happened to me on Christmas is this.
“Back in the early ’80s at the beginning of my career (or lack thereof) I was driving from one Christmas Eve party to another in an old, beat up, open top Jeep. As I drove up to a stoplight I noticed a pile of trash that someone had dumped on the side of the road. Being Christmas Eve and in a wonderful mood, I got out and loaded the trash into the back of my jalopy and cruised off to my next party.
“As I approached my next destination of holiday cheer, a police officer pulled me over for littering. Apparently a piece of the trash blew out while on route.
“As I explained to him the situation, the look on his face slowly began to change from disbelief to recognition. He realized I was the master of ceremonies of the local melodrama.
“He had had so much fun with his daughter at the show that, not only did he let me off, but his entire attitude changed from stern, tough policeman to a fan who loved what I and the show brought to him and his family. This still makes me smile.”
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