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Performance academy event features solo, duet and group singing, plus cookie contest

If You Go

What: SALT Academy Friends and Family Christmas Concert, an evening of Christmas carols, skits and other entertainment from students young and old

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17

Where: SALT Academy & Performing Arts Company, 333 N. Main Ave., Gresham

Admission: Free; SALT will accept nonperishable food donations to SnowCap Community Charities

More info: visit saltacademy.com/events/

COURTESY PHOTO: SALT ACADEMY - SALTPAC, the SALT Academys specialty group of performing arts students selected by audition only, will be among the configurations of SALT performers singing at the upcoming event.  The Gresham area abounds with quality Christmas and holiday season-related gatherings and events, but it's hard to imagine one more likely to melt even the most Grinch-y of hearts than the SALT Academy's annual Friends and Family Christmas Concert.

The evening features the singing of Christmas carols, skits and other entertainment from SALT students young and old as well as a cookie-making bake-off, warm beverages, food and plenty of community camaraderie.

At the free event, held 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the SALT Academy & Performing Arts Company, 333 N. Main Ave., Gresham, SALT will accept nonperishable food donations for SnowCap Community Charities.

"We're welcoming people to come in and listen to Christmas music for free," said Mimi Stewart, SALT artistic director and co-founder. "It's truly a Christmas concert from the standpoint that all the songs are those that people learned for special events around Christmas, and now they get to perform them all at once. It's kind of the culmination of lot of work through Christmas season."

The events Stewart refers to include SALT's "Spirit of Christmas" event held the Saturday after Thanksgiving featuring singing and caroling in costume, the Christmas tree lighting at the downtown Arts Plaza, a roaming Dickens Carolers group and the youth-oriented SALTPAC specialty group singing in a TV spot with MetroEast Community Media.

"We didn't know it would be received as well as it was," Stewart said of 'Spirit of Christmas.' "It was a lot of fun."

It also was on the chilly side. COURTESY PHOTO: SALT ACADEMY - The SALT Academys annual Friends and Family Christmas Concert on Tuesday, Dec. 17, will provide a 90-minute program of Christmas songs in solo, duet and ensemble choir configurations

"It was really cold, but people just stood and listened and enjoyed it. It was amazing to see people stand out in the cold and do that," she added. "It was a very nice community event."

The upcoming concert features a variety of SALT-related performers singing and performing in different configurations.

"The SALT Pack will be performing and provide the foundation of music. There also will be featured singers with solos and duets," Stewart said, adding the age range of performers is about 14 to 40. "They all come out of SALT or are associated with us in some way. We've invited people to bring their best songs.

"There will be some lively music, beautiful old carols — that kind of thing — as well as more modern stuff. It's the gamut: a nice variety of nice Christmas music — plus cookies."

Things kick off at 6 p.m. when the families of SALT Pack members are invited to make their favorite cookies, from which a winner will be chosen by an informal panel. The performances will commence around 6:30.

In addition to the sweet sounds of harmonious voices, Stewart believes the setting and casual presentation contribute to the event's holiday glow.

"It's in our own little theater with a nice little Christmas scene in the background," she said. "It's not a big production. So let's unwind and enjoy some entertainment. Come in, relax, grab a cookie, see a friend, talk and sit down and let's sing — and just enjoy being together."


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