Tickets can be purchased at door for $10.
By Alison Graef
The ASL Glee Club Christmas Kaleidoscope will celebrate the season 6-10 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.
American Sign Language Instructor Julie Razuri, who is co-director and co-founder of the glee club, said the alumni group Gleek Squad also will share the stage to perform 20 songs and skits set to contemporary, traditional and religious Christmas music.
The glee club is the performance group from SLNG 1206, Interpreting in Artistic Texts. This is its fourth annual Christmas show.
Razuri said the event is designed for the entire family. Coloring pages and glow sticks will be available for children, and Christmas cartoons will play in the auditorium before the show.
After the performances, characters from the show will be available for photos in the lobby, including the Grinch, a hippo, a little boy and a trilingual Santa, who speaks English, American Sign Language and Spanish.
“It’s about setting the Christmas cheer and keeping the kids entertained,” Razuri said. “We really want this to be for the family.”
The show will incorporate audible music, sign language, gestures, costumes, props and creative lighting to portray Christmas music in a way that is accessible to a deaf audience, including a rock performance of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
Robert Cardoza, ASL Glee Club assistant director and president of the Gleek Squad, said performers will use finger-lights to portray songs such as “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Pentatonix.
“To show that vocalization, we move our hands with the lights and also closing our hands and shutting off the lights to show that rhythm,” Cardoza said. “We try to give the audience a variety of ways to look at Christmas music.”
Cardoza said the Christmas show was developed the first semester of the class as a way to showcase the glee students’ work.
“It’s a time for parents of students to come out and see what they’re doing — to see the students on stage,” Cardoza said. “Then people started asking what’s going to happen next year.”
The glee club has been preparing for the Christmas show since day one of the semester, Razuri said. Preparation includes not only choreography and rehearsal of 20 songs, but also the design of props and costumes.
Cardoza said he loves to see the hard work and dedication that students put into preparing for the performance.
“My favorite part is seeing the progress, from taking a song and seeing students come up with this idea, and then seeing the finished product,” Cardoza said. “And seeing the pride that they take in taking ownership of the song and really wanting to make it look good.”
Most of the rehearsals have been in ASL department classrooms. Razuri said there will only be two rehearsals on stage due to unavailability of the McAllister stage and the inconvenience of transporting costumes, props and materials across campus. Cardoza said it is not uncommon for last-minute changes to be made to choreography once it is seen on the large scale of the stage.
However, Cardoza said despite inevitable last-minute preparation, the performance always goes well.
“We will be at rehearsal on Friday night and everyone will be frantic,” Cardoza said. “But in the end it all comes together. It’s all worth the blood, sweat and tears that go into getting it ready.”
Cardoza said the show is intended to bring people together, both the performers and the audience, to let them enjoy the spirit of the season.
“We host this show for people to just come out and enjoy the holiday season,” Cardoza said. “At the end of the show, there is this sense of camaraderie, like a family, and that’s a great feeling. It’s Christmas, and that’s a feeling not everyone gets to have. We come together for that one night and get to put on that show for the community.”
Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. Admission is free for children 12 and under. Cardoza said all proceeds go toward the production of the next year’s performance.