Press Release

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol kicks-off holiday season to support local homeless

LONDON–Unity Project & Orchestra London’s 5th annual Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol promises to give as much as it gets at Centennial Hall on December 12 2012 at 7 pm. The lively reading of Dickens’ classic yuletide tale offers star performances by some of London’s most prominent lawyers, music by Orchestra London (Alain Trudel, conductor) and over 100 voices of The London Singers and the H.B. Beal Singers (David B. Weaver, director). Everyone is welcome to enjoy the event by pay-what-you-can donation at the door. Over 1000 audience members from all walks of life come to deck the hall, joining cast, choir and orchestra for an exhilarating sing-a-long finale to kick-off the holiday season—for relief of homelessness in London.

The fundraiser’s compassionate, egalitarian pay-what-you-can modus operandi promotes the true spirit of Christmas. It is made possible by the generosity of its sponsors including Rooftop Sponsor Don & Joan Smith and Gold Sponsors EllisDon and Middlesex Printing. Star Sponsors give generously and send one of their star  lawyers to the stage, namely Jamie Caskey (Siskinds), Maia Bent (Lerners), John Graham (Foster Townsend Graham), Vicki Edgar (Cohen Highley), and Lorrie Por and Claude Pensa (Harrison Pensa). Rachel Jones, a London actor and director provides the troupe with theatrical coaching. This year Cohen Highley has sponsored accessibility for the blind and visually impaired with Robert Q Airbus and Aboutown shuttling those who can use a guided lift from home to hall.

Silvia Langer, Unity Project’s Development Manager says, “This event is deeply meaningful to us, for its inspiring message of compassion, the support it brings our cause, and the opportunity it provides for all who participate to give back to community. We are grateful for the hundreds involved. It is an honour to team up with Orchestra London, The London Singers and the H.B. Beal Singers and all these dramatic lawyers.”

The Unity Project provides emergency shelter and transitional housing in a home-like environment. Residents participate in all aspects of operations, taking care of themselves, each other and community. The shelter serves over 600 individuals each year, services more than 12,000 bednights, and provides over 44,000 meals.

Orchestra London’s Music Director, Alain Trudel, is pleased to conduct the orchestra for this event. “We want to give back to a community that does so much for us,” says Maestro Trudel.  “We look forward to sharing the joy of the season with everyone,” he adds.

The presentation carries on a tradition initiated by CBC Radio and inspired by Charles Dickens who himself gave dramatic readings of his little book and always donated the proceeds to local charity. Of the reading, Ms. Langer says, “A Christmas Carol inspires us to do as Dickens said, ‘keep Christmas in our hearts throughout the year.’ Regardless of what you are able to give at the gate, we hope you sing with a full heart in the finale!”


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What: A Lively Dramatic Reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; with holiday music and a sing-along. Music to include Star Carol, O Come All Ye Faithful, Jingle Bells, Joy to the World, Carol of the Bells, What Child is This, Christmas Pipes, Hark the Herald Angels Sing

When: Wednesday, December 12 at 7:00pm (doors open 6 pm)

Where:   Centennial Hall – 550 Wellington Street London

Musical Performers: Orchestra London (Alain Trudel, conductor), The London Singers & H. B. Beal Secondary School Singers (David B. Weaver, choral director)

Readers:  Stave One Jamie Caskey (Siskinds), Stave Two Maia Bent (Lerners), Stave Three John Graham (Foster Townsend Graham), Stave Four Vicki Edgar (Cohen Highley), and Stave Five Lorrie Por and Claude Pensa (Harrison Pensa).

Price: Pay-What-You-Can donation at the door (no advance ticket purchase). Proceeds to Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness & Orchestra London.

Event Sponsors                 Rooftop/Presenting Sponsor: Don and Joan Smith;

Star:  Siskinds LLP, Lerners LLP, Cohen Highley, Harrison Pensa, Foster Townsend Graham;

Accessibility Sponsor: Cohen Highley, Robert Q Airbus, Aboutown;

Gold Sponsors: EllisDon and Middlesex Printing;

Silver Sponsors: Hicks Morely;  PricewaterhouseCoopers

Bronze Sponsor:  Libro Financial Group, Ledroit Beckett, London St. Thomas Association of REALTORS;  Compassion Sponsors: The Bag Lady Catering, Windermere Manor


About A Christmas Carol  For 20 years, under the guidance of CBC Radio, people across Canada have crowded into churches and theatres to hear Dickens’ timeless story and raise money for local charities. Unity Project carries on the tradition CBC Radio initiated, taking the production to new levels with Orchestra London and local choirs. Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843 as response to the notorious poverty of the “hungry forties”. It was his favorite novel and the script we use is an adaptation of the version Dickens’ himself performed.


Orchestra London has been making music in the London Community since 1937. Officially incorporated in 1957, Orchestra London performs over 50 concerts each season across six different series. Education & Outreach programs have introduced the orchestra to more than 30,000 schoolchildren since 2000 and the community at-large.  Orchestra London welcomed Alain Trudel as Music Director in 2011.


Unity Project  provides emergency shelter and transitional housing accommodations to men and women age 18 and over, in a safe, secular, and home-like setting. The shelter, located at 717 Dundas St. in Old East Village, is open and staffed 24 hours every day. Frontline Support Staff assist each resident to establish a personal action plan while residents cook and clean as part of an important life skills program to develop the ability to take care of one’s own and others’ basic needs. Life skills and housing support programming is offered on site and Unity Project also manages the Housing and Stability component of the London CAReS program as well as its Veteran’s Housing Program.


For more information, please contact:

Silvia Langer, Development Manager - Unity Project
(519) 494-4360 or 433-8809 or [email protected]

Terri Anne Moses, Sales & Marketing Manager, Orchestra London
Phone 519.679.8558 x 241 or email [email protected]