Christmas concert for choir

Soloist set to break some new ground with choir event

Soloist Skye Donald will perform with the choir at special Christmas concert.

Classical music lovers are in for a treat Sunday afternoon with the Parksville and District Community Choir’s annual Christmas concert.

The choir is celebrating 20 years of making music under the direction of Ann Barber and will be presenting Christmas Treasures — Classics and Carols at Knox United Church in Parksville Sunday afternoon.

Barber is entering her 20th year conducting the choir, which has been in existence for 42 years. Under her direction the choir has performed major choral works as well as some favorites that appeal to everyone.

Skye Donald, Faye Boggs, Keith Denford and Hugh Sinnott will join with the 50-voice chorus to sing the Christmas Oratorio, a beautiful work that captures the magic and mystery of the Christmas story.

The second half of the concert features a choral fantasy by Gustav Holst called Christmas Day and Russian Vespers music by Rachmaninoff as well as carols from England, the Caribbean and the United States. The music from the masters presented along with familiar favourites are sure to please everyone.

Soloist Skye Donald who was asked to participate in the concert by Barber this summer said she is looking forward to singing with the choir this weekend and the audience can expect a wonderful performance.

“The whole thing is quite lovely in it’s simplicity,” she said of the program.

The soprano singer said the choir has been rehearsing the Christmas Oratorio since September and while it isn’t a particularly difficult piece, it does have some tricky parts — particularly the duets and trios which have to be spot on.

“It is a pretty demanding range.  There are some high parts, but it is fun to sing and I am looking forward to singing with Hugh,” she said.

Donald’s love for music was fostered through participation in the District 69 Youth Choir, Parksville and District Community Choir, music programs at both Ballenas and Kwalicum secondary schools and Timbre! in Port Alberni.  Donald studied voice locally with Sharon Wishart before entering the music program at Douglas College in New Westminster.

Recently, she performed a solo recital in Vancouver Island Opera’s recital series in Parksville. Currently she is choir director at St. Stephen’s United Church in Qualicum Beach, which is busy preparing for a presentation of Vivaldi’s Gloria on December 10.

As director of the church choir she said she is excited about their challenging Christmas project which involves Polyphony music.

“It’s a challenge, but our choir is ready to do it and I am excited to do it. The music is over 300 years old. I made my own transcription. It was an exciting project and took a long time.”

Donald was one of the first members of the District 69 youth choir and at the same time she joined the adult choir at Knox United.  She sang her first Messiah in Grade 9 and said she had some really good leadership from Dottie Stokes at Knox.

“What is neat about Sunday’s concert is it will be in the church where I started singing with the choir in high school.”

The performance of Christmas Treasures — Classics and Carols takes place on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. at Knox United Church. Tickets are $15, or $12 for students and seniors and are available at Mulberry Bush Bookstores and at the door.


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