Christmas through the ages with the CMO

'We have chosen this year to present Christmas Music through the ages, from the Renaissance to rock'

Director Greg Johnson leads the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra through rehearsal in preparation for the group's Dec. 20 Christmas concert at the Cultural Centre.

Variety is the spice of life.

Variety is also what you’ll hear at the Annual Celebration of Christmas Concert Dec. 20 by the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra.

“We have chosen this year to present Christmas Music through the ages, from the Renaissance to rock. This concert has something to entertain everyone,” said CMO member and spokesperson Ann D. Fleming.

A varied group of Chilliwack musicians and thespians will be joining the CMO to showcase the community’s “truly great” cultural diversity.

Entertaining concert goers in the CCC lobby will be the Eggen Family Brass, who have become an annual favourite.

Also in the lobby for pre-concert entertainment, members of the Chilliwack Players’ Guild will be in period costume, singing carols and rounds and creating their special brand of comedy.

The Guild was founded in 1953 and is the resident theatre company at the Cultural Centre.

They are famous in Chilliwack for their comedic British Nights and have just completed a successful run of On Golden Pond.

The program includes beloved Christmas music from the mid-15th century to the 21st century, Renaissance to Rock.

“Our lovely Christmas angel, Soprano Sinead White, will be joining the orchestra for selections from Mozart Exultant Jubilate and of course, Handel’s Messiah.”

She will also be singing music both earlier and later in composition.

The soprano has moved to the area after completing a master’s degree in vocal performance at McGill University. Born in Ireland.

A Christmas Concert is never truly complete without Choral Music and the CMO is welcoming the FVPS Chilliwack Women’s Chorus, a local not for profit chorus sponsored by the Fraser Valley Philharmonic Society. The Chorus was created in 2005 by professional vocalist and Music Director Paula Quick. The chorus, a highly disciplined group of women, performs a wide variety of musical styles, distinguishing themselves in the performance of 20th Century settings of ethnic and folk music, from France and Spain, both from the Renaissance right up to the modern age. Like the CMO, the Women’s Chorus is a not for profit group of volunteer musicians from the local Fraser Valley region.

To honour Christmastime during Canada’s years at war, Jack Kopstein, local musician, military historian and author has written the CMO a special arrangement to showcase brass players.

“The mellow sounds of the CMO brass will bring back poignant memories for those in the audience who were young during the 1940s.”

Christmas music composition was going strong in the 50s and 60s. Sleigh Ride, The Christmas Song and other favourites will be easily recognized by everyone. The 70s and onward, while not so prolific, produced some very memorable compositions.

Kevin Davey, Music Therapist and musician with the hit Beatles Tribute Group – The Fab Forever, will be making an appearance as a ghost from the past to sing a special arrangement by Blake Mackay, orchestrator for the Fab.

“We are pleased to have Kevin join us as the boys are planning a tour of Asia in the near future,” she says.

To end the concert with a selection from the 21st century, they picked “a rocking version” of the Trans Siberian Orchestra’s transcription of Christmas Eve/Sarajevo, showcasing CMO Concert Master Rick Barker on electric violin and guest local guitar instructor and music composer Michal Kvicinsky, with  the orchestra’s artistic director Gregory Douglas Johnson are going to flex their musical muscles with this one.

Tickets 604-391-SHOW $25, or students $15.

The Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra’s Annual Celebration of Christmas Concert on Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.