The Concenti Singers and Cowichan Valley Youth Choir are presenting their annual holiday concert, In the Bleak Midwinter, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3 at Duncan United Church.
Known for their crisp diction and delightful presentation of a wide variety of music, a concert by these choirs is a red-letter-day for many Valley music lovers.
The concert on Dec. 3 involves the Concenti Singers and the Cowichan Valley Youth Choir — the older kids not the juniors.
“We’re calling the concert In the Bleak Midwinter not just because we are in the bleak midwinter but because Concenti and the Youth Choir are each singing a different arrangement of that carol. And they are very, very different. The one the Youth Choir is doing we have learned because the Youth Choir is singing at Fairbridge Carols next Saturday and that piece was suggested that we should do. And Concenti is doing a more modern version of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’,” said Sheila Hilton-Johnson, director of both choirs.
The audience is in for something special because there are several choirs within the two overarching groups.
“In the Concenti Singers we have a mixed choir, we have some men, and we have the women’s choir. And in the Youth Choir we have a concert choir, which is all unchanged voices, and we have Accafellas, which is now nine young men, and they join the concert choir to form a mixed choir. Those nine young men, six of them started with the youth choir at around age eight, but now we have nine between 14 and age 18.”
Numbers of that group are impossible to know ahead of time.
“In fact, we just added our ninth one from the concert choir about three weeks ago. He came back in September and said hello to me and I said, ‘What did you say?’ So, within Concenti and the Youth Choir we have several different sounds. It’s quite exciting for us.”
“Things are looking good for Youth Choir, too. Last year we had a very tiny junior choir. They’ll be singing with the Youth Choir down at Sylvan United on Dec. 10. Well, this year we have 20 in the junior choir, up from seven, which is pretty good.
“I can’t believe it’s our 16th season with Youth Choir, and our 35th with Concenti. Time is just flying by.
“We’ve got a lot of Christmas music and the kids are going to sing a great gospel piece. And one thing Concenti is doing in this concert is singing a piece of music in memory of dear Peggy Smith, who sang in Concenti with her husband from Day One for many, many years. After her husband died Peggy continued to support the choir and she would be there in her wheelchair every time we did a performance. She just passed away in the spring and her favourite piece was one by John Rutter, ‘The Music’s Always with You’, so we are singing it in the concert in her memory and trying to get through it without getting too emotional.”
Tickets are $15 for adults and youth and, if kids under 12 want to come, too, they get in free. Get your tickets are Volume One Bookstore or from Concenti members.