The Tidesmen present Text me Merry Christmas at the Ecumenical Centre on Friday, Dec. 14. (Photo courtesy Judy Hancock)

Tidesmen present Christmas program at Nanaimo’s Ecumenical Centre

This year the annual concert will feature modern carols and instrumental music

Nanaimo’s Tidesmen chorus is offering a modern take on a yearly tradition.

The vocal ensemble is preparing for its seventh annual Christmas show, and this time around the members are trying something new: The program will include some “contemporary” Christmas songs as well as instrumental numbers by Tidesmen who have musical talents beyond singing.

The production, Text Me Merry Christmas, comes to Nanaimo’s Ecumenical Centre on Dec. 14.

“We had been discussing for a while that it would be a good idea to add some more contemporary stuff,” said Steve Price-Francis, who sings in the Tidesmen’s lead section. “There’s still a lot of the traditional things and the songs that people love to hear this time of year, so it’s not a dramatic change but it’s a significant new component to our repertoire.”

One of those new carols is the concert’s namesake, Text Me Merry Christmas, a humorous tune about a couple texting each other about the holidays which Price-Francis says “gently satirizes the predominance of social media in our lives today.”

Instead of featuring a guest act as they’ve traditionally done in the past, the Tidesmen are for the first time showcasing their own instrumental skills.

Tidesmen assistant director Robert Bradford will be performing on the keyboard and baritones James Chappell and Roy Sage will play the flute and guitar, respectively.

Price-Francis said the Tidesmen have developed a loyal following of fans who make a point to attend the Christmas concert each year. He said it means a lot to be a part of other people’s yuletide traditions.

Last year the Tidesmen included a voluntary survey in their program, and Price-Francis said the group received some “extraordinarily deep and moving” responses. People reported being inspired and moved to tears.

“It means an enormous amount to us to know that we can have such a positive effect on people,” Price-Francis said.

WHAT’S ON … The Tidesmen present Text Me Merry Christmas at the Ecumenical Centre, 6234 Spartan Rd., on Friday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for accompanied children under 16. Available at Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery, Arbutus Music and any Tidesmen member.



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