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Castlegar in for Dickensian thrill

CBC Radio host Chris Walker and four Kootenay locals will doe the Christmas Carol reading - CBC
CBC Radio host Chris Walker and four Kootenay locals will doe the Christmas Carol reading
— image credit: CBC

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a presentation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol. Fortunately, in Castlegar five accomplished speakers will take turns reading the iconic story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his nocturnal visits from three spirits.

Performing the five staves (parts) will be Glenn Hicks, Jane Sinclair, Chelan Padmoroff, Bob Jackson, and CBC Radio morning host Chris Walker.

The reading is a fundraiser for the Castlegar and District Public Library and goes Friday, Dec. 7 at the Castlegar United Church.

“We want to create a festive feeling around the Christmas holiday season,” said Darlene Kalawsky, chair of the Friends of the Castlegar and District Public Library. “We’ve got some great guests coming in to read. We’ve also got Glenn Hicks from Mountain FM and his wife Jane (Sinclair). They’re very renowned for this kind of thing. Jane is a theatre producer/actress from Nelson. Chelan is our (Rotary) Rotaract chairperson and she’s a student at Selkirk College.”

The featured speaker is Chris Walker, who is the host of CBC Radio’s Daybreak South program. Walker, who grew up on Galiano Island near Victoria, is an award winning reporter who started his career in the alleyways of Egypt after landing his first job with the Cairo Times, an independent human rights magazine. He has also freelanced for CBC News and written for the Lebanon Daily Star.

Glenn Hicks, of course, is the news director at Mountain FM and has been for the past eight years. Hicks is used to asking the questions in interviews, but I turned the tables on him and asked what he thought of reading A Christmas Carol.

“It’s a good opportunity,” he said. “It’s all about raising funds. People just like to hear a nice, familiar piece of quality writing. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Ebenezer Scrooge is, obviously, very famous.”

Hicks has given several performances for various public events and is looking forward to the reading.

“It’s great to be with other people and give a little colour to what is a brilliantly written piece anyway,” he said. “When you read it out loud  - the diction, the descriptions, and the Dickensian qualities are absolutely fantastic. You get your teeth sunk into it and widen your eyes and try to look at the audience as you do it - it’s great. The audiences are always very receptive and get into the whole spirit of it. It’s fantastic.”

Hicks’ wife, Jane Sinclair, may be more well known to Nelson audiences, but there is no overlooking her experience in the theatre both as a director and as a performer.

“She’s done a lot of acting, directing, and writing and communications work and is well known in the Nelson area more than Castlegar,” said Hicks. “She’s fun to listen to.”

Bob Jackson is a retired secondary school teacher who has lived in Castlegar for 40 years with his wife Sandra. Chelan Padmoroff is a first year nursing student at Selkirk College and a native of Castlegar.

The evening will also feature Christmas music from Christina Amelio, an upcoming singer and songwriter living in the Kootenays, and the Twin Rivers Chorale.

Tickets are available in advance for $10 at the Castlegar Library and for $12 at the door.

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