The art of story-telling and early music will delight Kelowna audiences attending A Lute for Christmas concert

Audiences will be enthralled by the story of a mystical adventure when Early Music Studio presents A Lute for Christmas, on Sunday, December 8th, at Bottega. Vancouver theatre luminaries and Jesse Award-winning team Anna Hagan and Terrence Kelly join musicians Susan Adams playing Italian harpsichord, and Clive Titmuss playing the lute, for this moving holiday concert.

Terrence Kelly will read the classic A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan ThomasAnna Hagan will present Susan Adams’ captivating story A Lute for Christmas, which recounts the extraordinary story of a Pacific yew tree’s transformation into a lute.

“Audiences will be delighted by the afternoon performance,” says lutenist and instrument-maker Clive Titmuss. “We are so pleased to have guest artists, Anna Hagan and Terry Kelly joining us for this festive concert, as we celebrate the art of story-telling and period music.”

A Lute for Christmas tells the story of endangered yew trees, hundreds of years old, which were cut down in the forests of BC and Washington for taxamine, a precious pharmaceutical enzyme. Like African elephants poached for their ivory, the yew tree’s bark was stripped, while the rest of the tree was discarded. The remaining wood left as scrap in a lumberyard, destined to serve as fence posts.

An alert Bellingham instrument-maker realized the importance of this sacred wood and its historical application to lute-making. Luthier Clive Titmuss was one of the fortunate artisans whom he contacted. Titmus seized the opportunity to use the unexpected gift of this precious resource by creating a series of instruments. A Lute for Christmas tells this remarkable story. It is on this very lute, made from the irreplaceable yew, which Titmuss plays at the climactic point in the story.

The afternoon includes a fundraising sale of handmade Christmas ornaments and seasonal goodies. Tea and coffee will be available for guests to enjoy. Early Music Studio’s concerts at Bottega are always a popular social and musical gathering. Seating in Bottega is limited and it is likely that this holiday concert will sell-out — so get your tickets early.

Tickets for the concert are $25, or $22 for students and seniors. They are available from Annegret’s Chocolates in the Towne Centre Mall or online at

About Early Music Studios

The Society of Friends of the Early Music Studio is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to the performance of and education about music written before 1800. Principals Susan Adams and Clive Titmuss, of Early Music Studios, produce concerts and recordings on a variety of instruments that display the beauty of this period music for audiences.

Susan Adams was born in Ottawa into a family that encouraged music study. She began playing at the age of five, and started taking lessons when she was six years old. Adams studied the piano privately in Ottawa with Jaromey Anderson and then under Boris Roubakine at the University of Calgary. Later she studied early keyboard instruments at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, majoring in harpsichord with Jean-Claude Zehnder. Adams studied early piano with Klaus Linder, and her travels to Holland offered her the opporunity to receive coaching from Gustav Leonhardt. Returning to Canada, Adams has continued to perform the works of Bach, Couperin, Rameau and Scarlatti on harpsichord, and the music of Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, and J.C. Bach on the early piano.

Clive Titmuss was born in London, England arriving in Canada in 1955. He studied music history and guitar at the University of Calgary. Later Titmus studied the lute in California and England, and finally at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland with Eugen Dombois and Hopkinson Smith. Titmuss began his studyof lutherie in 1980 and since then has concentrated on building instruments from the 16th-19th centuries, performing hundreds of recitals using instruments he has rafted. Musicians from around the world play on instruments Titmus has made. As a scolar, he has produced editions of early lute and guitar music, made freely available on the web.

About Terrence Kelly and Anna Hagan

Terry Kelly and Anna Hagan were recently honoured with a Jesse Award by the Vancouver theatrical community for Lifetime Career Achievement in acting and directing for their work with The Vancouver Playhouse, Tahmahnous Theatre, White Rock Summer Theatre, and for their roles in screen and television. They have been active performing in televison, film, and on stage for a generation.

Terrence Kelly is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, and was the Founding Artistic Director of the Arena Theatre in White Rock.

Anna Hagan is currently the Artistic Director for the Western Gold Theatre Company, and has appeared in many roles for television and film.

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