Victoria Symphony brings Christmas Pops back to town

The Qualicum Beach Civic Centre will come alive with beautiful music

Victoria Symphony conductor Brian Jackson at last year’s Christmas Pops.

Victoria Symphony conductor Brian Jackson at last year’s Christmas Pops.

Magnificent music and voices will be filling the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre as the Victoria Symphony will once again be doing their Christmas Pops show on Monday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

The concert, A Sentimental Christmas, will feature conductor Brian Jackson with some all-time holiday favourites.  Maestro Jackson is the principal pops conductor for the Victoria Symphony, the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and Orchestra London Canada.

Jackson’s innovative Pops programming has made him Canada’s favourite Pops conductor.

As a holiday gift, local singing sensation Emily Braden will perform with the orchestra. It is the first time performing with the Victoria Symphony for the vocalist, composer and lyricist who has strong ties to Vancouver Island. Braden grew up in Boise, Idaho, but she spent her twenties in Victoria and for eight years called the city home. She now lives in West Harlem in New York City where she is working on an exciting jazz career but said she still considers Victoria home.

“It shaped me as a person. When I left for New York I was ready to expand in a lot of different ways,” she admitted.

As a young girl Braden spent countless hours memorizing classic vocal solos.  Early love affairs with power house voices such as Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan fanned the embers for what is now recognized as her signature style.

“Ella is my heart.  She has influenced me hugely.”

The independent artist recently recorded her debut album Soul Walk in New York City.

Her style is above all passionate — from straight ahead jazz to straight up soul, from gospel-tinged melodies to down and dirty blues.

“To perform with a live orchestra is a dream.  The Victoria Symphony tour is high profile and I am really excited to come back to the Island.”

Currently Braden is rehearsing with the symphony in Victoria and she admitted that she is in her comfort zone with jazz but it is an easy cross over to a classical setting.

Braden said she loves the holidays and her favorite Christmas song is This Christmas by Donny Hathaway.

Braden said she is looking forward to visiting Qualicum Beach because she received a warm reception during a past performance in the town.

“I performed at TOSH years ago … it was awesome.”

Tickets for the December 12 concert are on sale at the Mulberry Bush bookstore for $33. Ten names from the first 400 who buy tickets will be randomly drawn and invited along with a guest to attend the post-concert reception in the Windsor room.


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