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Wednesday, 23 December 2015 11:14

Lyric Theatre has great Christmas traditions

Written by  Joey Donnelly
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One of the Lyric Theatre’s most enduring traditions is the annual Children’s Christmas Matinée.


Over the years, young people have filled the hall of the theatre to celebrate the holiday season and give to local families in need.
The first Christmas matinee at the Lyric was in 1924. Jack Lundholm was the owner at the time who organized a Christmas party for children featuring a Jackie Coogan picture.
Admission was a potato. Why a potato? Well, 636 children brought in seven bushels of potatoes for a poor, large family in Swift Current that Jack had been helping.
In the midst of the Great Depression in 1933, 500 children attended the Lyric and each contributed a toy as admission charge and distributed among local needy children.
The Boys Scouts assisted by collecting the toys and acted as ushers. A reporter noted, “The youngsters thoroughly enjoyed the show, which consisted of films dear to childhood.”
Following  Jack Lundholm’s death in 1969, the former editor of the Swift Current Sun, Jim Greenblat wrote, “Thousands of men and women, scattered across the continent will recall, as kids, his Lyric and later Eagle Christmas parties and there were well over 40 of them all told. He was one of the humblest and kindest persons I knew in my hometown.”
About seven years ago, the board recognized the value of Jack’s legacy and re-instated the Christmas matinée.
“We thought it was a wonderful tradition that should be started again. Now people have money for potatoes, so we charge five dollars to get in," said Gwen Uher, the Lyric board’s president.
Last weekend’s event featured carol singing, crafts, a live theatrical presentation, storytime, a visit from Santa, and once again, food was collected for low-income families. 
On behalf of the Lyric board, thank you for your continued support. May the holiday spirit of giving continue into the new year.
UPCOMING EVENTS:
On Jan. 12, Youth Improv takes place, followed by the next Open Stage on Thursday, Jan. 14.
Be sure to check out the next Blenders presentation: the JP Hoe Band plays on Saturday, Jan. 23. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $25 (blendersmusic.ca).
For more information about the Lyric and upcoming shows, visit lyrictheatre.ca, our Facebook page or phone 306-773-6292.
(Joey Donnelly is a news reporter for Golden West Radio, folklorist and Lyric board member.)

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