The Port Theatre stage will be crowded on Saturday night when around 150 singers and musicians come together for an evening of Mistletoe and Magic.
The Vancouver Island Symphony presents its Christmas program at the theatre on Dec. 14. The players will be joined by a trio of choirs: the VIS Children’s Choir, Nanaimo’s A Cappella Plus and the Village Voices of Qualicum Beach, who are performing with the symphony for the first time.
“Putting those forces together, that’s part of the spectacle at Christmas is a large choir with the orchestra,” said Patricia Plumley, who directs all three vocal groups.
She added that there’s a lot to keep in mind when balancing the voices of adults, children and an orchestra. She said managing her younger singers’ voices can be a challenge in that context.
“I think the big thing is that you have to pick and choose the places where the children’s voices can be highlighted because you don’t want them overusing their voice and you don’t want them being overpowered,” she said. “So we’ve picked out a couple places where the orchestration’s thinner and the adults can do sort of a hum background, or not, and highlight the children’s voices.”
The program will open with orchestral and choral renditions of the Huron Carol by 17th century Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf and will include Christmas carols and hymns by modern British composers John Rutter and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Plumley said Vaughan Williams’s piece Antiphon is a “wonderful addition” to be sung by the adult contingent.
“It’s a magnificent piece,” she said. “Large choral forces, big sound, big message: ‘Let all the world in every corner sing.’”
As the concert is taking place during the VIS’s 25th season, Plumley said she went back and sought out compositions her groups have sung with the orchestra in the past. One piece she’s bringing back is Rutter’s Angels’ Carol. She said it was one of the first pieces the symphony’s children’s Noteworthy Kids performed on their own before the VIS Children’s Choir was formed.
“For me, there’s an honour in being able to be part of the 25th celebration,” Plumley said. “I have so many wonderful memories of symphony choir shows.”
WHAT’S ON … The Vancouver Island Symphony presents Mistletoe and Magic at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $48 and $56 for adults. $22 for students. Available at the box office.