packed house received a strong dose of Christmas magic Monday night when Qualicum Beach once again played host to the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.
Dubbed A Sentimental Christmas, the concert, featured a masterful performance by veteran conductor Brian Jackson, with a special guest appearance by vocalist Emily Braden.
Jackson, the principal pops conductor for the Victoria Symphony was in fine form as he kicked things off with Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson, followed by a surprising — and delightful seasonal theme from the movie Home Alone, by composer John Williams.
Surely a highlight with many were Braden’s jazzy renditions of a number of holiday favourites in a style reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald.
True to its name, the concert drew no shortage of sentiment from the crowd as Jackson and Braden led them through a singalong of such Christmas standards such as O Little Town of Bethlehem, Good King Wenceslas, Deck the Halls and Joy to the World.
The singalong and the vocal artistry were just the ornaments on the orchestral tree however, with heartbreakingly lovely music pouring off the stage and immersing the crowd in waves of sighing violins and cellos, accented by tight percussion and superb piano riffs.
Sponsored by Quality Foods, The News and Aaron Nicklen and Louse Roy of the Coast Realty Group and hosted by Eric and Shirley Charman, the concert undoubtedly provided a significant boost to the Christmas spirit across Oceanside.