Join the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra (“the Met“) for A Celebration of Christmas on Dec. 19.
As their eighth annual Christmas concert, the Met will offer a festive and diverse program for music and dance lovers alike.
Met board member Anne Fleming says, “This is the concert where we get to showcase the diversity of talent that we have in our orchestra and select a program of some wonderful music of the Christmas season.”
On stage will be a number of special guests including vocal soloist Crystal Hicks, who will be belting out traditional holiday favourites in her gospel style.
Originally from the Bahamas, Hicks grew up singing. “My dad was a pastor, my mother was from a musical family. We all had a real love for it.”
Of her varied vocal experience, Hicks performs jazz, blues, pop and more, but she gets the most enjoyment from performing gospel.
“I can just really belt it,” she laughed. “It resonates with my faith. When you believe in what you’re singing, you really feel it.”
Hicks has performed with The Met for a Christmas concert a few years back, and she’s excited to join them once again.
“Singing with an orchestra, that’s an experience that just lifts you,” she enthused.
Met orchestra bassist Johan Worst has worked with Hicks outside of the orchestral stage as well, in a band called ‘Horizon.’ The two are working with pianist Sandra Bower on a classic jazzy favourite for the Celebration of Christmas show.
“The Christmas performances with the Met are always great,” Worst said. “It’s not just the orchestra on stage performing for a receptive audience, there’s audience participation as well.”
Rod Swanson, Chilliwack music teacher and classical guitarist, will also join Hicks for a special vocal and guitar duet.
Met Conductor Gregory Douglas Johnson had wanted to perform music from the beloved Nutcracker Suite for years. What better way to bring this beautiful music to life than with great, local dancers.
Local dancer and choreographer Leigh Hilary-Lee was thrilled to provide a ballet and acro dance troupe and choreography from Crucible Dance Ministry, the dance company that she founded nearly a year ago.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Hilary-Lee formed Crucible Dance Ministry after years of rigorous education and work in fine arts as a dancer and instructor.
“Our mission [at Crucible] is to develop leaders that are growing in their faith,” Hilary-Lee explained. The group strives to serve communities at a local and global scale, and pays it forward with the gift of dance.
Of Hilary-Lee’s dance troupe will be award-winning acro dance soloist Zoey Howe, who will take the stage for the Arabian dance, Coffee. Dancing since she was three, Howe is gaining fame in the Lower Mainland for her grace and athleticism, and she hopes to one day perform with the Cirque du Soleil.
“No Christmas orchestra program is really complete without a beautiful Harpist,” Fleming said. The Met are fortunate to have Calgary Philharmonic Olivia Ritchey on the program for the Nutcracker Suite and a special Samuel Rousseau variation on an ancient French Christmas carol.
Ritchey will be joined by a string quartet of orchestra musicians to perform this piece, which she has waited years to bring to the stage.
Lovers of jazz, gospel, classical, dance and more will unite in joy during this festive evening celebration that won’t soon be forgotten.
The Christmas season can be a frantic time, Hicks pointed out, and she hopes that this concert will provide a fun break from this hectic time of year, where peoples’ spirits can be lifted by beautiful music.
A Celebration of Christmas takes place at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre (9201 Corbould St.) on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, available at the Box Office, at chilliwackculturalcentre.ca, or by phone at 604-391-7469.