The Holidays Are Upon Us

By William Ludt

The Christmas setup at the Arms Family Museum. Photo Courtesy of Leanne Lee.

Winter is coming, and that means holiday-themed events and exhibits will be making their way to campus.

The Arms Family Museum and Mahoning Valley Historical Society are currently preparing for “Memories of Christmas Past,” an elaborate exhibition of Christmas-themed items.

Seven different rooms will display the periods of Christmas.

Leann Rich, manager of Education & External Relations at MVHS, explained why the exhibit started.

“We wanted to show more of the Historical Society’s collection of Christmas items,” Rich said. “We’ve reached out to the community of collectors and they lent their pieces to us.”

This marks the seventh year the Arms Family Museum has organized “Memories of Christmas Past.” In 2012, the exhibition received the Ambassador of the Year Award from The Golden Glow, a Christmas collector’s organization.

“You see it decorated as a house rather than a museum setting,” Rich said.

The “Memories of Christmas Past” exhibit opens its doors to the public Nov. 22 and will run to Jan. 4. The exhibit will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, and Thursdays until 8 p.m.

“Carols and Cocoa,” a holiday music extravaganza, will be hosted by the Dana School of Music on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at Stambaugh Auditorium.

As the event’s title suggests, free cocoa and cookies will be provided.

Michael Crist, director of the Dana School of Music, explained the humble beginnings of “Carols and Cocoa.”

“‘Carols and Cocoa’ began as a modest sing-along in the Bliss Hall lobby and has progressed to an outstanding musical even consisting of the informal Carols and Cocoa segment, and more formal Holiday Concert,” Crist said. “Stambaugh Auditorium is a beautiful venue for these performances.”

“Carols and Cocoa” has been held for over 30 years and will feature an array of performers from instrument exclusive ensembles, choruses, the Dana Symphonic Choir, Stambaugh Chorus and Dana Symphony Orchestra with guest soloists.

“We are humbled that the community supports the Dana School of Music in such a public way,” Crist said.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the Stambaugh Auditorium Box Office, on the phone at 330-259-0555 or at

Penguin Playhouse and Alpha Psi Omega will perform “A Steampunk Christmas Carol,” on Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and on Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

“A Steampunk Christmas Carol” is an adaptation of the original Charles Dickens novel, holding on to the Victorian era setting, but adding the extreme dependence of steam-powered technology that is steampunk.

“The words are largely Dickens’,” Scott Irelan, director of the play and chair of the theater and dance department, said. “The designs by students, staff and faculty, though, are all steampunk both in inspiration and in execution.”

Alpha Psi Omega will also be hosting holiday activities to participate in in the lobby before the show.

“The adaptation has been a collaboration between myself as the director, and students both in script analysis class last spring and those on the creative team now,” Irelan said. “The mash up will be fun.”

Tickets can be purchased at the University Theater Box Office.