'Elgin Celebrates the Holidays' could be city's newest tradition

After this Sunday, Elgin may have a new holiday tradition on its already-busy calendar.

For the first time, the Hemmens Cultural Center is hosting "Elgin Celebrates the Holidays," a wintertime show featuring dance, choral music and classic vocal performances.

The show's performers include popular groups like Eastern Groove Studio, Urban Dance Concept, BFH (formerly Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl), Soirée Lyrique, Elgin Master Chorale and Integrity School of Dance. In addition, David Hunter from GreenRoom Improv, the current resident troupe at Hemmens, will emcee the event.

"This is something the mayor (David Kaptain) has been wanting to do for some time, because we have several art showcases that feature visual arts, like 'Art & Soul on the Fox' during summer, but nothing that showcases the performing arts quite the same way," Hemmens Director Butch Wilhelmi said.

This new show will not only achieve just that, Wilhelmi added, but will also complement Elgin's other holiday events, such as the annual tree lighting in early December and the "Window Wonderland: 12 Days of Christmas" hosted by the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin.

Proceeds from "Elgin Celebrates the Holidays" will benefit each of the performing arts groups that the audience will see on stage. And while emcee David Hunter will guide visitors through this year's showcase-style event, Wilhelmi said he hopes that future holiday shows will evolve to feature a storyline or common theme - possibly with even more acts included.

"It does have room to grow," he said. "And there are so many performance groups in our community who have already asked us to keep them posted about next year."

"Elgin Celebrates the Holidays" will also be complemented by another art event happening at Hemmens Cultural Center on Sunday: the nonprofit group Art for All, which traditionally displays work in the Hemmens lobby, is expanding to a larger gallery within the center. This space will allow the group to display different types of media, including 3-D pieces. An unveiling of this display will be at 2 p.m., just before the show.

Meanwhile, the lobby exhibit will now become a showcase for the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame, with pieces moved from the previous Hall of Fame site at the Paramount Theater in Aurora.

For details or tickets to "Elgin Celebrates the Holidays," visit or call (847) 931-5900.

  Christina King of Eastern Groove Studio in Elgin has been teaching and performing belly dance for over 20 years. The group will be among the performers at "Elgin Celebrates the Holidays," a variety show at the Hemmens. Laura Stoecker/
  Cynthia G. Hernandez of Elgin is the artistic director of BFH, formerly known as Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl, a nonprofit in-residence dance ensemble of Elgin Community College, which will perform Sunday at the Hemmens. Laura Stoecker/

If you go

What: Elgin Celebrates the Holidays, a variety show featuring music and dance performances

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20

Where: Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin

Cost: $10

Details: <a href=""></a> or (847) 931-5900

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