LATROBE, PA – The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery at Saint Vincent College will host a number of upcoming virtual events leading into the Christmas holiday, including the reading of a classic holiday tale as well as a weekly podcast series featuring holiday ghost stories.
Sunday, Dec. 6
Live reading of “A Christmas Carol” by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk
At 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, master storyteller Jonathan Kruk will perform a solo reading of Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol,” live on YouTube.
“The New York Times describes Jonathan as having ‘a way with the spoken word, the telling gesture, the sprinkling of humor and the appropriate costume for a smorgasbord of stories,’” said Lauren Churilla, McCarl Gallery curator. “Celebrating 30 years of experience as a master storyteller, he is renowned for his performances of ‘A Christmas Carol.’”
With a treasure trove of voices and gestures and performing in Dickensian garb, Kruk creates more than 30 characters, quickly transforming into Scrooge, Cratchit, Marley, Tiny Tim and all the spirits, creating gripping vignettes with dynamic dialogue.
The show will open with a sing-along led by multi-instrumentalist, performer and composer Jim Keyes. His original score blends traditional Christmas carols noted in “A Christmas Carol” with ambient motifs, complete with a wide array of sound effects gleaned from a pipe organ, violin, harp, bells and a rattling chain.
Kruk’s reading will be set in the elegant 19th-century Boscobel House in Hudson Valley, New York. Viewers will be brought on a virtual tour of the stately mansion as the story unfolds.
Online registration is available at this link, with a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds benefit the McCarl Gallery. The live link to the performance will be provided upon registration.
Haunted holiday podcast series
Each Friday leading up to Christmas, the McCarl Gallery will present a new podcast featuring the reading of a haunted holiday tale.
“Every Christmas,” said Churilla,” we look forward to the spooky and fascinating tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his encounters with the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future. However, Dickens’ spooky tale wasn’t the first ghost story to be read around a Christmas fire.”
Narrated by Jared Bundy, C’08, the series will consist of four readings, including “The Tapestried Chamber,” by Sir Walter Scott; “The Haunted Rock,” by W.W. Fenn; “How Peter Parley Laid a Ghost,” by Anonymous; and “The Ghost Summons,” by Ada Buisson.
Beginning on Friday, Dec. 4, the podcasts will be uploaded weekly and available for listening on the McCarl Gallery’s website, www.mccarlgallery.org, as well as its social media accounts.
“The tradition of holiday ghost stories dates back much further than the Victorians,” explained Churilla. “During the darkest times of the year, people believed the distance between the living and the dead closed. Our modern Christmas emerged in the Victorian Western world. With the newfound trappings of a commercialized Christmas involving the sending of gifts, cards and merrymaking, the holiday ghost stories emerged in the press with gusto.
“Ghost stories populated periodicals,” she continued, “and readers had an insatiable appetite for the holiday season’s spooky tales. It is estimated that between 50 and 70 percent of these stories were published by women.”
For more information on the upcoming reading of “A Christmas Carol” and the haunted holiday podcast series, contact the McCarl Gallery at 724-805-2188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.