T.S. Eliot’s opinion notwithstanding, for many Canadians November is the “cruellest month,” full of slush, shortening days, and overcast, grey skies. That, no doubt, is one reason the Peterborough Singers’ annual Yuletide Cheer concert regularly attracts a packed house.
Sheltered from the cold and wind outside, hundreds of audience members are treated to a musical feast, featuring 100 well-trained voices, the warmth and virtuosity of a brass band, the power of a giant pipe organ, top-notch soloists, and the most beloved Christmas carols, Hanukkah songs, and other seasonal favourites.
“I defy anybody to leave our Yuletide Cheer concert in a November-induced funk,” says the Peterborough Singers’ Artistic Director, Syd Birrell. “For me, to stand in front of the choir and band while directing this concert is like basking in the warmth of a roaring fire. It really is just the best holiday pick-me-up anywhere around. Everybody leaves with a giant smile.”Order tickets
This year, the Singers are offering an opportunity for a lucky music lover to win two free tickets to the holiday concert. To enter the contest, all you have to do is visit the Peterborough Singers’ Facebook page. “Pinned” to the top of the “posts” section is a video about the contest. Comment on that post by stating your favourite holiday song, and then like and share the post for your chance to win.A short cut to this promotional video contest
The repertoire for this year’s concert spans a thousand years, from medieval Christmas pieces to contemporary arrangements of songs by the viral a cappella group, Pentatonix. As always, the concert will feature a number of sing-along carols, such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”
Every year’s Yuletide Cheer concert comes with a twist. This year, Birrell has decided to focus on highlighting some of the diverse and first-rate talent hidden within the choir itself.
“Part of being a good choral singer is learning the art of blending in with the rest of the choir,” says Birrell. “In a well-balanced choir, no individual member should stand out. However, one downside of this is that sometimes the unique talents of the singers can be hidden or overlooked. The fact is the Peterborough Singers is packed with individual talent. And this year we’re showcasing some of that.”
For several of the numbers, Birrell will be handing off the conductor’s baton to different members of the choir, while he plays the organ. One of these is Ben Keith, a young man whose life is a testimony to the healing power of music. Now attending Trent University, Keith struggled for years with the challenges of autism…but his musical talents transformed his life.
“Keith joined the Singers at 17, and I am so happy about that,” notes Birrell. “He has perfect pitch. He’s incredibly musically intelligent. And when he’s conducting the choir, he’s grinning away and having the time of his life. His joy is infectious, and we’re delighted to share his musical gifts with our audience.”
Returning by popular demand will be the charming, talented, and always-popular Venabrass ensemble – a group of virtuosi brass musicians all from the same family. The Venabrass love to play together at all kinds of events, including Salvation Army Christmas kettles in cities from Toronto to Vancouver, and even in Portland, Oregon. They have also had the honour of being included in two recent Christmas recording projects for the Salvation Army in the Ontario Central East Division.
“Our Yuletide concert has something for everybody,” says Birrell. “I guarantee it will be one of the highlights of your holiday season. I hope to see you the evening of Nov. 30.”
When: Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Where: Emmanuel United Church (534 George Street N.), Peterborough
Ticket prices: $35 adults / $10 students
To purchase tickets, visit https://www.peterboroughsingers.com/tickets/buy-tickets/ or call 705.745.1820.
Tickets are also available at the following outlets: Pammett’s Flower Shop, Grainger’s Cleaners, Ashburnham Foot & Ankle Centre, Happenstance Books & Yarns (Lakefield), Stewart Morrison Insurance (Lindsay).
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