By Tony DeGol (with inspiration from writer Clement Moore)
“Twas days before Christmas and all through the town,
folks were scurrying for gifts that would make nobody frown.
The search was rough-going; maddening for sure.
Then it suddenly hit: the arts are never a bore!
As the calendar creeps closer to Christmas, perhaps you are still searching for the perfect presents for the arts lovers on your list. Local arts leaders suggest season subscriptions to any of the outstanding performing arts groups in the Altoona area such as the Allegheny Ballet Company, Altoona Community Theatre, the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, and the Blair Concert Chorale.
What a great idea: Tickets to music, theater, and dance.
If you think someone won’t like them, there’s not even a chance!
“It’s a great gift for anybody,” said Steve Helsel, Operations Manager for ACT and President of the Board of Directors of Blair Concert Chorale. “It’s not only a gift for that day, but a gift the person continues to appreciate throughout the year.”
Often, Helsel pointed out, people do not think to purchase subscriptions for themselves, which make them much-appreciated presents. Tickets to individual performances are also an option, he reminded.
So many ways to gift the arts;
one must never forget those who captured our hearts.
Another idea is a gift to an arts organization in memory or in honor of a loved one. Helsel noted a recent donation of stock to ACT as a Christmas gift in honor of a person’s grandmother.
But it’s not just the performing arts; remember the visual arts, too.
SAMA is ready with many ideas for you.
The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art has some intriguing gift options. Shoppers might want to check out the SAMA website for books such as Colleen Browning: The Enchantment of Realism or In Harmony with Nature: The Photography of Donald M. Robinson.
“Those are very good coffee table books,” said Gary Moyer, SAMA Executive Director.
Moyer also pointed out the posters available on the site, such as The Beatles Songs. A list of featured song titles are printed in the left and right margins of the poster.
“I think the arts represent a very special gift for very special people,” Moyer added.
And for students immersed in the arts, have no fear.
Instructors can help get your shopping in gear.
Jana Sidler, a veteran art teacher at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School in Altoona, gave her students plenty of ideas for Santa this year. For teens or adults who love to create, Sidler suggests adult coloring books (all themes), Sharpies (ultra-fine point), acrylics, canvases, watercolors with paper, oil pastels, a sketch book with drawing pencils, a “how to” calligraphy kit, or self-hardening modeling clay.
Another great idea, Sidler suggested, is gift cards for craft stores such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Craft classes are a wonderful option. And don’t forget about experiences at places like a beloved new spot in Downtown Altoona – The Clay Cup.
For musicians, there is no shortage of ideas, either. Jennifer Wright, a violist with the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and music teacher in the Bellwood Antis School District, thinks ornaments such as a violin or treble clef are great gifts. She also recommends a musical dictionary book. As a teacher, Wright said she has gifted such items to her students.
“I enjoy my students, and I like to give them something small that shows I appreciate them and like teaching them,” she added.
Peforming or visual, the arts offer such pleasure.
Consider these gifts, they’re certainly a treasure.
Amazing artists and leaders; Altoona is blessed.
They’re talented, dedicated, and seem to never rest.
Now! Cheung. Now! Benzel. Now! Volpe and O’Harrow.
On! Strueber. On! Rita. On! Wolf and concert master Genaro.
As we celebrate the season, let us joyfully spread the news.
Merry Christmas to all, and may 2018 bring great reviews!