Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation, to cap ground-breaking season for the Peterborough Singers

When Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation, first premiered in Vienna in 1798, the city was forced to dispatch 30 policemen to keep order as crowds swarmed the theatre in the vain hope of joining the elite few invited to the exclusive event. But fortunately for Peterborough residents, when the 100-voice Peterborough Singers present the famous oratorio in May 2015, all that will be necessary is a ticket of admission. These are now available for purchase at various outlets around the city.

“I am eager to begin rehearsing this work with the Singers, for Haydn understands big choirs and writes the most exciting choruses,” said Peterborough Singers artistic director Syd Birrell.

Though The Creation is what Birrell describes as the “central” work of the upcoming season, the performance is still nine busy months away. In the meantime, the Singers have three other concerts to prepare for. These include the magical Yuletide Cheer, the ever-stunning Messiah, as well as a daring venture into uncharted territories with the Singers’ first Soul concert.

For Peterborough Singers series ticket holders, all four concerts, or a combination of two or three, can be enjoyed at discount prices and with a host of other benefits.

Tickets for all four concerts can be purchased for just $100 (a saving of $20 off regular ticket prices), a combination of any three concerts for just $80 ($10 saving), or of any two for just $55 ($5 saving). Students can purchase a full series subscription for $35 or single tickets for $10. In addition to lower prices, series ticket holders can skip the lines, enjoy preferred seating at concerts, and will receive invitations to exclusive events.

The Singers will kick off the 2014-15 season in just a few weeks with Yuletide Cheer (Nov. 29), an exhilarating blend of the 100-voice choir, a virtuosic brass band, the organ, guest performers, and audience participation. At this year’s concert, the Singers will honor Canadian composer Len Ballantine, featuring several of his works including the final installment of a Christmas trilogy commissioned directly for the Singers. (For more on earlier Ballantine compositions for the Singers, see “Len Ballantine’s Composition debuts at Carols with Brass” and an article from The Peterborough Examiner on his “Night of the Angel Song.”)

The Messiah (Dec. 14 and 15), an annual tradition, needs no introduction. Audience members come back year after year for the performances of Handel’s most famous work which will feature some of the finest local and national solo talent.

The Singers’ will chart new territory in February with their first-ever Soul concert (Feb. 28), featuring singers Beau Dixon and Bridget Foley, pianist Rob Phillips, saxophonist Steve McCracken, and others.

“I have been thrilled by my preliminary research into Soul music, its birth in the African American gospel churches, its hand-in-hand journey with the civil rights movement of the USA, the obstacles African American’s had to demolish the get their music into the mainstream,” said Birrell. He added that the Singers will honor “the great heartache of the African American population as they fought for freedom and respect” by marking Black History Month at the concert.

Finally, capping off the year, will be Haydn’s The Creation (May 9), which Birrell described as “an exuberant and tuneful work that celebrates the beauty of nature.” That concert will feature five stunning young soloists: sopranos Chelsea Van Pelt and Ellen McAteer, tenor Chris Mayell, and basses Tyler Fitzgerald and Joel Allison.

As always, organ great Ian Sadler will accompany the Singers not only for The Creation, but also for Handel’s Messiah and Yuletide Cheer.