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Winnipeg organizations keeping traditions alive, spirits up over holidays

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Like almost everything, holiday gatherings and traditions are cancelled this year. But there are a number of organizations looking to keep those traditions alive by bringing them to you at home. Global's Marney Blunt reports – Dec 10, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues into the holiday season, many Winnipeg organizations are looking to keep traditions alive, offering them online for in-home enjoyment this year.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is doing ‘The Nutcracker Suite,’ a downsized version of their annual performance.

“Like everything that is being done in performing arts and business and everything, it’s different,” Royal Winnipeg Ballet artistic director and CEO Andre Lewis told Global News. “It will be different for the time being but we thought it was important to continue.”

The artists are performing the Nutcracker in small groups. The performance, which is about an hour and 15 minutes long, will go online on Dec. 23, 26, and 27.

“Nutcracker is done in cohorts, we’ve never had to do cohorts before. (We) can’t have more than essentially 10 people on stage at the same time,” Lewis said.

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Read more: Coronavirus: 20% of Manitobans plan to visit family, friends this holiday season

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert will also be streaming online this Saturday.

“We are continuing to make music, that’s our job — making music. Through thick and thin we continue to find a way to bring our orchestra together,” said Trudy Schroeder, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra executive director.

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“Music is so important to our holiday celebrations — and particularly in rough times — sort of having some access to music and the performers and performances that we know and love.”

Winnipeg’s Santa Claus Parade was cancelled this year, but they’re offering a variety of family activities to take part in online.

Even though kids can’t go see Santa at the mall this year, families can still schedule a virtual visit with him through Santa’s Virtual Visit North Pole. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Make a Wish Foundation.

“We were all set to go ahead and we had all the safety precautions in place, we had plexiglass for Santa, and then the restrictions came in,” organizer Linda Nelson told Global News.

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“It really is a magical time, so it was really trying to find a way that we could put a little bit of normalcy in Christmas and have the opportunity to visit with Santa and chat with him and talk about what they might want for Christmas, and all those other nice things.”