Members of the Sage Sound Singers choir, with founder/musical director Michelle Reid at left and accompanist Dimiter Terziev at right, rehearsing for their 2021 Christmas concert, ‘All on a Silent Night’. (Photo credit: Twisted Desert Music Society)

Members of the Sage Sound Singers choir, with founder/musical director Michelle Reid at left and accompanist Dimiter Terziev at right, rehearsing for their 2021 Christmas concert, ‘All on a Silent Night’. (Photo credit: Twisted Desert Music Society)

Sage Sound Singers Christmas concert coming this weekend

‘All on a Silent Night’ is choir’s first live Christmas concert since 2018

The Sage Sound Singers choir has a Christmas treat in store: a concert full of festive music called “All on a Silent Night”, which will have two performances on Dec. 18 and 19.

It will be the first live Christmas concert for the choir — which was founded by Michelle Reid, and has been performing in the area since 2008 — since their 2018 event. In 2019 the choir did a fall concert featuring music from Fiddler on the Roof instead, and last year their concert was filmed and broadcast online due to COVID-19 regulations.

Longtime choir member Jim Mertel says that rehearsals for the concert started in mid-September, with the singers meeting every Tuesday night for a rehearsal with accompanist Dimiter Terziev. “There were also rehearsals on Sundays for anyone who wanted to go, where Michelle goes over the parts and irons out specific details. It helped us learn the songs faster.”

Mertel adds that while there are a number of familiar faces in this year’s version of the choir, there are several new members as well. “It’s nice to see some new people.”

The choir has received help from a number of local organizations. “We’ve had some really good community support. The Ashcroft and District Health Care Auxiliary gave us a donation, because it’s good for the mental health of the community. We all need something like this, and I’m hoping for a good turnout.”

The music for the concert will cover everything from traditional pieces such as “Silent Night”, and the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, to a “Holiday Tango” and an African Noel. Mertel is particularly pleased that they will also be singing the haunting “Walking in the Air” from the animated Christmas special The Snowman.

“I’ve been wanting to sing this with the choir for three years,” he explains. “I finally found it through the music publishing site we use, and when Michelle heard it she said ‘We need to do this.’”

He’s also pleased at the inclusion of the “Hallelujah Chorus”, noting that it is one of the more difficult pieces Sage Sound Singers have attempted. “Because of Michelle’s skill and faith in our ability, we think we’re able to pull it off.”

He adds that there is an interesting tradition about this piece, which involves the audience standing while it is being sung.

“The origins of this tradition are rather obscure, but the most accepted explanation is that King George II stood up during the chorus at the Messiah’s 1743 London premiere. While it might be said that he stood up because he was so moved by the music and wanted to show his reverence, one historian has a different take on it, saying that ‘The King rose to his feet, possibly because of a bad case of pins and needles or gout, rather than an outburst of royal emotion inspired by the music.’”

No one knows whether this is true, but the choir will honour this tradition, and ask the audience to stand up while they sing this as the concert’s finale. Mertel also notes that since they are not able to serve refreshments during the intermission due to COVID protocols, there will instead be a special reading from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to entertain people during the break.

“We’re so excited to be able to present a Christmas concert for our communities,” says Mertel. “During these hard times, we need to come together and show that even in adversity our community spirit and our concern for each other are very much alive. We hope this concert will remind people of that, and that it will be a time where we forget about the troubles, be together, and enjoy the entertainment.”

“All on a Silent Night” will be at the Ashcroft HUB on Saturday, Dec. 18 (7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m.) and Sunday, Dec. 19 (2 p.m.; doors open at 1:30 p.m.). Tickets are $15 each (children under 5 are free) and can be purchased at the door. All patrons aged 12 and older must be fully vaccinated and show their vaccine card upon entry. All patrons aged 5 and older do not need to wear a mask while seated for the concert, but must wear a mask while not seated and while entering/exiting.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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