Are your feet tired from holiday shopping? Do you need a break from baking, wrapping, and preparing for guests? Or are you just wanting to connect with friends and family for a special evening? The Peterborough Singers has the answer to all of that and more!
Bringing together a grand musical selection of seasonal fare, this year’s Yuletide Cheer concert on Nov. 25 will feature time-honoured classics, delightful renditions of familiar favourites, as well as a newly commissioned piece by the virtuosic Venabrass ensemble.
“Our annual holiday concert is probably our most shamelessly feel-good show of the year,” says Peterborough Singers Artistic Director Syd Birrell. “Personally, when I choose the repertoire for the show, my goal is making sure our audience members walk out with a giant smile on their faces, and maybe even a few tears in their eyes.”
“The bitter November winds don’t stand a chance against Yuletide Cheer‘s magical blend of choir, brass, and some of the greatest Christmas melodies ever composed!” adds Birrell. “It’s a recipe that we’ve perfected over 25 years, and there’s a reason that the house is always packed, and so many audience members keep coming back, year after year.”
This year, however, Birrell has taken a special approach to compiling the program. To celebrate the Singers’ 25th anniversary, he has been taking requests from audience and choir members alike, creating a “best hits” Yuletide program.
“We’ve put together a truly special show,” says Birrell. “From those powerful first chords of Gorecki’s “Totus Tuus” to the haunting strains of the uniquely Canadian “Huron Carol” and the humour of “One Cold Night” by Canadian composer Len Ballantine, this show is a non-stop procession of tested and proven crowd-pleasers.”
This year’s program also includes classic favourites like “What Child is This,” “Hark the Herald,” “In the Bleak Midwinter,” and many more. As always, audience members will be invited to sing along with several of the carols.
“As much as I love conducting the choir in some of the excruciatingly complicated classical stuff by Bach and the like, what sticks with me most every year are the sing-along carols,” says Birrell. “With hundreds of voices uplifted together in song, not to mention the organ with all the stops pulled, and the brass, it feels like you could swim through the sea of sound. For me, it sums up what music is all about.”
This year the Singers will be joined by 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.
Also accompanying the Singers will be Juno-award-winning organist Ian Sadler.