Singers beat winter cold with stories and songs
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 06:00 am
Tales of Christmas
St. Albert Youth Musical Association
Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.
5 St. Anne Street
Sounds of Christmas
St. Albert Singers
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.
St. Albert United Church
20 Green Grove Dr.
Call 780-418-4184 to purchase tickets for both shows
Are you the type of person who needs to hear some beautifully performed Christmas music during the holiday season?
By all accounts the St. Albert Singers Guild and its younger protégés the St. Albert Youth Musical Association (SAYMA) annual festival of story and song could be just the tonic you need to battle the snow and cold.
The SAYMA youth choirs are singing Tales of Christmas on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Arden Theatre, a voyage filled with singing teddy bears, dancing zoo animals and a snowman that wants to vacation in Hawaii.
Instead the St. Albert Singers adult mixed choir and women’s choir deliver Sounds of Christmas, a more poignant program on Dec. 7 and 8 at St. Albert United Church.
This year the adult singers have taken on the challenge of featuring four selections from Handel’s Messiah interspersed with additional jazz, gospel, traditional carols and contemporary music.
In Tales of Christmas musical director Criselda Mierau has conceived a program where each of the four children’s choirs presents their own Christmas show. Each production carries its own special signature, and in the Mierau style offers a message of hope.
The 11-member Mini Singers, ages 3 to 4 years, present Teddy Bear Christmas, a 13-minute offering where a family of bear cubs learn that small sacrifices bring their own rich rewards.
In Holizoo, the 20 Little Singers instead try to cheer up a zookeeper that is stuck at the zoo feeding the animals instead of celebrating with family and friends.
“They make things based on themselves – a feather hat, a zebra-striped scarf. She realizes family is more than who you are related to, but that it’s bigger than that.”
The 20-member Children’s Choir takes the audience to the North Pole on a comedic journey of discovery.
“The reindeer are crazy. The elves are tired. The snowmen are cold and want a vacation, and the toys are scared of going out in the real world.”
And the Youth Choir of Grade 6 and older youth have taken on Cinderella and The Snow Queen as a tale of empowerment. Penned by one of the choir’s own – Katia Mierau – it is in part inspired by highly successful ABC television series Once Upon a Time.
Adding to the fantasy realm are elves and mice with names such as Bubble and Squeak. Oh yes, and in the feathered friend grouping, there’s the traditional Christmas Calling-bird.
While invention and imagination are the bedrock of the youth concert, the adult St. Albert Singers lend a lush tone to Sounds of Christmas.
For the women’s 30-member choir and the Mixed Adult Choir’s 60 voices, Mierau relates every piece as an element of joy.
While many music lovers tend to equate the Messiah with Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, Mierau is sticking to selections relating to the infant’s birth.
“We’re doing the four Messiah pieces in a row and then we’re going down a different path to express this same attitude in a different way.”
Saying that, the choirs shift from a classical mode to more popular expressions in Go Tell It On the Mountain, Joy to the World and Winter Wonderland.
“And we’re doing a fabulous arrangement of Jingle Bells unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. We’re going to mess with time and rhythm and it will be completely unexpected.”
The adult choirs will also have live accompaniment from the Vaughn String Quartet, trumpets, flute, upright bass and percussion and drums.
“It’s going to be so big, so joyful, so much fun.”