The Craig Bay Choristers have a long-standing tradition of spreading Christmas joy with their music, and the group’s new director will have her chance to be a part of that custom for the first time next weekend. Rosemarie Barnes will conduct her inaugural concert A Merry Little Christmas at Knox United Church Dec. 13.
“I want the audience to go away happy, cheerful and remembering the good things about Christmas,” she said.
The concert features well-loved carols and old favourites made new. Barnes said the mix is eclectic but “accessible,” ranging from a couple of hallelujahs to audience sing-a-longs and everything in between. There will be new, old, fun and serious selections.
According to a news release, Carl McLuhan will accompany the Choristers on piano, as will the guitar/bass/drums trio of the Craig Bay Musicians and Nanaimo-based flutist Karen Withers Janssen. According to the Craig Bay Choristers’s secretary Lesley Brown, the accompanying musicians have all played with the choir in the past and they will only play on select pieces in this concert.
“It’s all thoroughly listenable and completely enjoyable,” said Barnes.
Since starting as director in Sept., Barnes has worked hard the with Choristers. Along with learning new pieces, she and the group have practised pronunciation, annunciation and listening skills. “A proper conductor can give lessons with each rehearsal,” she explained. And Barnes — who sang with Edmonton’s DaCamera Singers for 25 years and has a background in theatre, English and music — said she’s noticed a positive difference already. The group is more aware of itself and sounding great.
“Rehearsals are fun … and tiring,” she said. “We have a great time.”
The Choristers will also give a matinee performance on Thursday, Dec. 11 for seniors in care. “It’s something we love to do,” said Brown.
According to Barnes, the seniors’ concert is slightly shorter than the Saturday show. She said that it mostly includes “music they will remember” and that she hopes “to evoke memories of Christmases past.” The concert will be followed by afternoon tea and tickets to that show have already been distributed to various care facilities throughout the area for their residents to attend this event.
Again, the main public concert will be at Knox United Church in Parksville on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available now from the church office and through Chorister members. Some tickets may be available at the door, but Brown recommends people buy their tickets sooner than later. Partial proceeds from this concert will go to Oceanside Hospice Society.