They may be small, but their voices are mighty, and this season they’re set to wow the Fraser Valley with song. The Chilliwack Children’s and Youth Choirs are joining the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for this year’s presentations of Handel’s oratorio, Messiah.
“One of the special challenges in performing Messiah year after year is to keep the work sounding fresh, as if one had just discovered it,” said Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra and Chorus music director, Paula DeWit. “It is a joy for many listeners to experience a more detailed, articulate style and quicker tempos based on Baroque dance rhythms and speech patterns.”
With ages ranging from seven- to 16-years-old, members of the Children and Youth Choirs come from all over Chilliwack. And in addition to helping play a role in introducing them to world full of music, the Choir is also a place where members can find like-minded individuals with whom they can create lasting friendships.
Noah Moraw, 10, is a veteran of the Children’s Choir, having been a member since he was six-years-old. A natural performer, Moraw says the choir is a lot of fun, and it has really opened him up to being brave enough to join other performances.
“The choir helped me overcome my stage fright,” he says. “I’ve always liked the play at school, and thought, ‘That looks like so much fun!’ so this year I joined.”
The same can be said for Choir newcomer, Theo Surdu. “I’ve been having a lot of fun here. It’s something I never thought I’d do before, (but) I love it, it’s amazing,” he says. “My favourite parts (are) sharing these experiences with friends and performing in front of audiences,” adds the 10-year-old.
And with audiences in mind, DeWit hopes as many as possible turn out to enjoy the show.
“We just want people to experience the music. Getting (them) to come and take in the music is the main goal,” said DeWit, who co-founded the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with her late husband, Maestro John van Liempt. “That’s why one of our shows is by donation. Come, give (what you can), but come enjoy the music most of all,” she exclaimed.
In addition to the Children’s and Youth Choirs, Messiah audiences will enjoy performances by the a capella group Belle Voci, soprano soloist Nancy Hasic, countertenor Shane Hanson, and tenor Thomas Lamont.
The performances will be on consecutive nights in Chilliwack, Langley, and Aldergrove—which is the by-donation show—starting on Dec. 8. Tickets for the other two shows start at $15, and are available at Kings Music in Sardis, online at chilliwacksymphony.com, or by calling the CSO box office at 604-795-0521.
All concerts start at 7:30 p.m.