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Singers’ 25th Anniversary Season

The Peterborough Singers are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a blockbuster year, including a Greatest Hits concert featuring some of the most-requested songs in their vast repertoire from the past two and a half decades, with the season capped off by one of the world’s best renowned oratorios – Mendelssohn’s Elijah.

Right now, music lovers can save up to 20% off regular ticket prices by purchasing series tickets of two, three, or all four concerts. Another reason to purchase series tickets is reserved seating at concerts — something worth considering in light of last year’s packed-to-the rafters performance of Handel’s Messiah.

“This is a year where we celebrate 25 years,” says Artistic Director Syd Birrell,” so we are without embarrassment looking backwards, both to acknowledge how far we have come and to celebrate some of the most memorable moments and accomplishments of that journey.”

The concert series kicks off November 25th with the traditional, and always-uplifting, Yuletide Cheer featuring the virtuosic Venabrass Quintet. To celebrate the 25th anniversary, Birrell has been seeking input from choir members and audience alike to build a program around the choir’s most-requested songs from previous holiday concerts.

Next, on December 18th, comes the annual — but never-the-same — performance of Handel’s great Christmas oratorio: the Messiah. This year, the Singers are continuing their tradition of tapping some of Canada’s top vocal talent, welcoming world-renowned Canadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc to a stellar roster of solo talent, including mezzo-soprano Erin Fisher, tenor Colin Ainsworth, and bass Andrew Tees.

A 25th anniversary is traditionally known as the “silver” anniversary, and this upcoming February the Singers will celebrate with what Birrell is (very) unofficially calling the “silver teapot” concert. That’s his nickname for the one-of-a-kind Greatest Hits concert on February 24th. Guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser, this concert will feature the 25 most-requested songs — one for each year — from the Singers’ storied 25-year history, cutting across genre lines.

The reason for the nickname? For the past number of weeks, Birrell has left a silver teapot out at the Singers’ weekly rehearsals, giving choir members an opportunity to vote on their favourite songs. Audience members have also been asked for their input. A brief teaser of some of the songs that have made the cut: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, “City Called Heaven” by Edward Boatner, “Libera Me” from Faure’s Requiem, and the haunting “Benedictus” from Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man.

The season wraps up with a performance on May 5th of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, unquestionably one of the world’s greatest and most-performed oratorios. Appropriately enough for a 25th-anniversary retrospective, among the soloists will be two of the Singers’ own alumni, soprano Melody Thomas, a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier’s opera program, and Adam Bishop, who holds a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto.

Another reason for supporters of the choir to consider purchasing series tickets? “It helps us with stability if we know where we’re at with advance ticket sales,” adds Birrell. “If you believe in the mission of this choir, not just to bring some of the most sublime music ever written to Peterborough, but also to support emerging Canadian talent, please consider purchasing series tickets.”

All the concerts this year will be held at Emmanuel United Church (formerly George St. United Church), in Peterborough.