This time of year is always crammed with last-minute activities: shopping, socializing, and, when they can be fitted in, concerts.
Here are some suggestions for last minute holiday music over the hectic days ahead.
Music for the Winter Solstice
When: 7:30 p.m., Dec. 14 & 15
Where: Heritage Hall, Vancouver
Info and tickets: musiconmain.ca
For those prepared to drop everything and hurry out to hear a concert right away, there is Music On Main’s annual Music for the Winter Solstice program. This year’s performers are Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, piano; Robyn Jacob, vocals & piano; Asitha Tennekoon, tenor; and Jonathan Lo, cello. You can anticipate a varied program that Music on Main tells us includes “Solstice favourites such as Caroline Shaw’s Winter Carol and the Wyrd Sisters’ Solstice Carole.”
Christmas by Candlelight
When: 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Dec. 16
Where: Pacific Spirit United Church, Vancouver
Info and tickets: vancouverchamberchoir.com
Last-minute concerts this time of year go big on atmosphere, with carefully considered venues adding a visual counterpoint to all that music. The Vancouver Chamber Choir, for example, offers Christmas by Candlelight. Taking advantage of what the choir calls “the warm glow of candlelight,” artistic director Kari Turunen conducts an elegant program with repertoire including from Giovanni Gabrieli and John Tavener, plus VCC composer-in-residence Matthew Whittall.
Christmas with Chor Leoni
When: 2 p.m., Dec. 17, 5 p.m., Dec. 17 and 19, 8 p.m. Dec. 16, 17 and 19
Where: St. Andrews-Wesley United Church, Vancouver
Info and tickets: chorleoni.org
Chor Leoni Men’s Choir will sing six programs in the beautifully renovated St. Andrews-Wesley United Church. Christmas with Chor Leoni is always a heady mix of this and that, as the ensemble promises music “ranging from the holy to the hilarious.” The lions are joined this December by harpist Vivian Chen, violinist/fiddler Cameron Wilson, and guitarist and Chor Leoni vocalist Keith Sinclair.
When and where: 7:30 p.m., Dec. 17 at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver; 3 p.m., Dec. 18 at West Vancouver United Church; 8 p.m., Dec. 22 at St. James Community Square, Vancouver.
Info and tickets: musicaintima.org
Musica Intima offers Winter Patterns downtown at Christ Church Cathedral on Dec. 17, then a matinee on the North Shore the next day. For this program, emphasis is on contemporary repertoire “sprinkled with favourite Christmas carols arranged by ensemble members past and present.” The conductorless vocal ensemble offers an entirely different take on seasonal music “both raucous and tender” in Ding Dong: Musica Intima after hours on Dec. 22. Guests for the informal do include members of Mad Pudding, Andy Hillhouse and Amy Stephens, plus Jodi Proznick on bass
Christmas with Bach
When: 3 p.m., Dec. 17
Where: West Vancouver United Church
Info and tickets: laudatesingers.com
On the North Shore, the Laudate Singers have scheduled Christmas with Bach, a program comprising three parts of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with soloists Abby Bottsk, soprano; Mark Donnelly, countenor; Mark De Silva, tenor; and basses Barry Honda and Cameron Killick. Lars Kaario conducts.
A Christmas Reprise
When and where: 2 p.m., Dec. 17 at Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver; 7:30 p.m., Dec. 17 at Queens Avenue United Church, New Westminster
info and tickets: vancouvercantatasingers.com
Vancouver Cantata Singers’ A Christmas Reprise has always been one of the last things on the December choral calendar, and for just under two decades it’s been a runaway success. You may not find it easy to score tickets for their matinee, but listeners have a second chance to hear glorious music by Herbert Howells and the master of the king’s music, Judith Weir, and settings of Ave Maria by Nathaniel Dett and Franz Biebl later that day in New Westminster.
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