Revellers ring in the new year

NANAIMO - New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball supports music and arts program for at-risk youths.

As the old year passes, and the new year begins with a toast of champagne, some Nanaimo revellers will be celebrating and supporting a good cause.

Indie Entertainment and the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association present a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball Thursday (Dec. 31) at 9 p.m. at the Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd. The event will raise money for Jona’s Art and Music Zone. It is a newly formed not-for-profit organization meant to help youths get exposure to music, drama and art.

Jona Kristinsson, owner of Indie Entertainment, has been working with at-risk youths for more than five years and said, over that time, she noticed there was a greater need than the current services in Nanaimo provide. She decided to start J.A.M.Z. She said the organization is separate from Indie Entertianment with its own board of directors but she will still work with the youths in the program.

Youth are expressive in many ways and music is one of them. There is a need for more accessible programs for youth at risk,” she said. “It can change lives.”

Kristinsson said some kids who don’t do well in the school system can sometimes thrive in programs that tailor the experience to their learning style and needs.

A lot of the time, the music is a vessel to open up to you …,” said Kristinsson. “Music is what makes them want to be better.”

Attendees of the masquerade ball are invited to dress glamorous and step onto the red carpet into a lavish world of glitter and wonder, said Jennifer Bowker, Indie Entertainment’s marketing and development manager.

“It will be like a fancy L.A. Event,” she said, adding everyone attending will receive a photograph of themselves on the red carpet after the event.

The organizers have a few surprises in store for the midnight countdown. Each celebrator will receive a complementary glass of champagne for the toast.

The evening’s entertainment headliner is The Femme Fatales with special guests The Moonshine Mollys and Gabrielle MacQueen.

Tickets are $70 in advance only. Doors open at 9 p.m. Call 250-754-8550 or go to www.porttheatre.com.

There are several events in the Harbour City where residents can ring in the new year, for both families and adults. The Dinghy Dock, Simon Holt, The Cambie, The Lighthouse Bistro and Pub and others are hosting New Year’s Eve celebrations.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com