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From left, Derek Gagnier, Jan Patrice Helms and host Gary Carl Fackenthall prepare for ‘Christmas in Blowing Rock 4.’ JEFF EASON PHOTO

Originally published: 2012-12-13 08:38:43
Last modified: 2012-12-13 08:38:43

‘Christmas in Blowing Rock 4’ variety show Dec. 14-16

Sometimes it’s hard to get into the proper spirit of Christmas.

Traveling, shopping and wrapping all the presents can often seem more of a chore than a cheer.
Thankfully, there’s a group of performers that will let you sit back and soak in the sights, sounds and songs of the season.

Ensemble Stage will present “Christmas in Blowing Rock 4” at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14 and 15 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Tickets are on sale now.

“Christmas in Blowing Rock 4” rekindles the spirit of the old Andy Williams and Bing Crosby holiday specials of the 1960s and 1970s. This year’s special host is Gary Carl Fackenthall.

“Don’t worry, we’re still keeping that 1960s TV Christmas musical variety show format that you’ve enjoyed and asked for the last three years,” said Gary Lee Smith, director of Ensemble Stage’s “Christmas in Blowing Rock 4.”

“The show features over 20 songs being sung by our host, an eight-person adult chorus and a 10-person Blowing Rock Kids Choir.
“We’ll also have Blowing Rock town councilman Jim Steele reading the story ‘The Little Match Girl,’ while the incredibly talented 11-year-old Savannah Troyer interprets the story through dance.”

Fackenthall, known for his rich baritone singing voice, has performed in more than 100 stage productions during his five-decade career.

The cast of “Christmas in Blowing Rock 4” also includes adult chorus members Joe Clark, Steve Frank, Derek Gagnier, Victor Rivera, Shauna Godwin, Caroline Kapo, Jan Patrice Helms and Sidney Ginn.

The kids chorus includes Kyle O’Bryan, Matthew Shaw, Harper Shanly, Savannah Troyer, Maya Cook, Janie Soucek, Sophia Crump, Fairlight Strong, Kathleen Gibson and Madison Cook.

Blake Pace is the pianist, and musical director and Kevin Troyer performs on bass and guitar. 

Fackenthall, originally from Trenton, N.J., and now living in Germantown, Md., has been performing with Pace for years as a duet in the Maryland-Washington, D.C. area. He will provide the vocals for many of the songs in “Christmas in Blowing Rock,” including the show-stopper, “Come Oh Ye Faithful.”

“This year, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the financial advisory firm of Linden Thomas, things are going to be glitzed up with a beautiful snow covered stone bridge at twilight as our backdrop, and – who knows – it may even snow on stage during the show,” Smith said. “So, combine all that with guys in fancy tuxedoes, ladies in beautiful ball gowns, silly skits and lots of singing and dancing, you’re sure to love this year’s edition of ‘Christmas in Blowing Rock.’”

This year’s show features more than 20 songs, including timeless classics, such as “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” and humorous ditties, such as “Ugly Sweater.”

Tickets for “Christmas in Blowing Rock 4” are $12 for adults and seniors, and $8 for students. To reserve tickets, call Ensemble Stage at (828) 414-1844 or visit

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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