The snow had ended but the roads were still dicey as we headed out to the KW Symphony’s Yuletide Spectacular, so it was nice to see a fairly solid crowd was still in attendance. As was the news that the Grand Philharmonic Choir would live to sing another day after all.
This was a symphony concert rather light on the symphonic side of things, as they were joined by many guest performers of all types. The highlight of the first half was something I’d never seen or even heard of before, the Synergy Bell Choir. It’s just the coolest thing to see these young people (11 to 20) manipulate these bells–I wish they were on YouTube. But it sounds lovely too; we even bought their CD at intermission.
The Grand Philharmonic Choir did a very nice Gloria chorus in the first half, but my very favourite was the “Musicological Journey Through the 12 Days of Christmas”. Each day of this famously long carol is a sung in a different musical style, from Gregorian Chant to American Jazz, passing through Back, Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss, Stravinsky, Williams (John), and so on. Very cool! I searched iTunes for a version afterward, but found I can get it only if I purchase the entire album by the San Francisco Gay Man’s Choir (I kid you not). Still pondering that one.
The Grand Philharmonic Children’s Choir was just deadly cute on their two numbers, “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” and “Somewhere in my Memory” (from Home Alone). And sounded very sweet. And there were some solo singers as well, including identical twins Mercedes and Phoenix Ann-Horn (and yes, it was feeling a bit PBS-special at times, but delightful nonetheless).
Unfortunately, we frankly sitting too close to really appreciate the work of Carousel Dance, who danced a couple big numbers from The Nutcracker Suite, along with a more modern piece to Stille Nacht. It was hard not to just focus on one nearby dancer instead of trying to take in and appreciate the whole group dance effect.
And then there was the singing along, which we got to do to the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah (good thing they handed out lyric sheets, because it turns out the only lyric I knew was “Hallelujah”), “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, and “O Come, All Ye Faithful”.
“Laughter may be the best medicine, but singing is good for the soul,” said conductor Brian Jackson. Indeed.
The whole gang—soloists, adult and child choir, bell choir, dancers, and–oh yeah–the KW Symphony—got together for the final sing-a-long number, the “Be careful what you wish for” per Mr. Jackson, “White Christmas”. And we even got candy canes at the end.
I am finally in the mood for Christmas.