Holiday Festival on Ice
Spectacular lineup includes Kurt Browning, Jennifer Robinson, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier
||The Kitchener Record|
||December 7, 2002|
KITCHENER -- When world champion skater Brian Orser takes to the
ice in Kitchener on Wednesday night, the audience is destined to be
star-struck once again.
Orser, however, will be breathing a sigh of relief. He is the
director and choreographer for Holiday Festival on Ice and is an
admitted perfectionist when it comes to presenting skating shows.
"I'm wearing a lot of hats for this one and I'm always kind of
stressed," Orser said during a phone interview from his Ottawa home.
"Yesterday I was in Toronto working with my music guy to get the
songs edited properly and I have to organize everything on paper
before I get to Kitchener, every step, and that's a challenge because
it's hard without all the skaters. Somehow I do it."
Despite his pre-show angst, Orser is confident in the spectacular
lineup for this annual festival, especially when the names Kurt
Browning, Jennifer Robinson, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier are
Their stunning performances have earned them international
recognition and respect making them true symbols of Canadian
Sale and Pelletier emerged from last year's Olympic controversy not
only winning the gold medal but also the hearts of millions of fans.
Browning will be in town fresh from his Gotta Skate and Stars on
Ice performances and his routine should exude creativity, flare and
the trademark Browning warmth. He's bringing along a six-year-old boy
to skate with him in his festive contribution, Working Elves Blues.
The youngster could have a skating career in his future because he
is the son of renowned Canadian choreographer and skater Sandra Bezic.
New young stars Jeffrey Buttle, the current Four Continents
champion; Shawn Sawyer, the 2002 junior Canadian champion; and
Ludmilla Nelidina, the 2002 silver medallist at the ISU Junior Grand
Prix, will perform in the show, which will be recorded for a CBC
special to air on Dec. 15.
The traditional song Joy to the World launches Holiday Festival on
Ice and Orser says he has tried to keep the event light and happy.
"I've always gone for the more traditional Christmas myself. When I
was a child it was absolutely one of my favourite times of the year
for many reasons. My birthday is Dec. 18 so that was always exciting.
"It's different for me now, I've had some personal tragedies that
have happened at Christmas time. My mom died at Christmas, my brother
died just before Christmas and my grandmother died a couple of years
ago on the anniversary of my mom's death. It was just too strange."
Orser turns 42 on Dec. 18 but, despite his age, the nickname
Mr. Triple Axel remains. He is in top condition and in the last few
years has been known to execute his signature move during skating
shows or pro competitions.
For his routine Wednesday he's chosen Garth Brooks' version of one
of his favourite Christmas tunes, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Orser's passion for skating and performing knows no bounds,
something he hopes young skaters will value if they consider skating
as a career.
"The most important thing is that they remember why they got
involved in the sport in the first place.
"We get so wrapped up in medals and placements sometimes that we
can't forget, we just love to skate."