Anna Atkinson presents Carols and Candlelight: Songs from a Victorian Christmas at Cedar United Church on Sunday, Dec. 16. (Photo courtesy Marjie Callaghan)

VIU prof Anna Atkinson sings Victorian Christmas carols at Cedar United Church

Concert proceeds to support the church and Loaves and Fishes food bank

For her upcoming Christmas concert, singer and VIU English professor Anna Atkinson has been scouring online repositories of Victorian-era songbooks.

She’s been on the lookout for tunes to include in her upcoming charity show, Carols and Candlelight: Songs from a Victorian Christmas. The performance takes place at Cedar United Church on Sunday, Dec. 16. The event is a fundraiser for the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, with the evening’s proceeds being split evenly between the church and food bank. Atkinson said she hopes to raise $1,000.

“Really the Victorians invented Christmas as we know it and one of the things about the Victorians that’s fascinating is that they are the ones who, more than any other period in history, tied Christmas to the process of making sure that everyone had enough, to the process of charity,” Atkinson said. “And so it’s kind of neat to go back into that period, especially for a concert that seeks to benefit one of the most important charities in town.”

In her song search, Atkinson and her accompanists have made some new musical discoveries and assigned some seasonal carols playful nicknames like “The Batman Carol” – “The first line is, ‘Lo, the eastern sages rise at a signal from the skies’ and I read that first line and all I could think of was the Bat Signal – and “The Spanky Jesus Song” – “It’s an old ballad and it actually comes from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and at the end of this song Jesus actually gets a spanking.”

She said she anticipates the concert will be “a wonderful evening full of enchantment and silliness and solemnity and all of the contradictions that go into Christmas.”

“It’s a neat time period because they were obsessed both with the renewal of life and they sort of had this odd obsession with death,” she said. “So you get really interesting and kind of spooky carols, but you also get some of the most beautiful and beloved carols that have ever been written.”

When putting together the program, Atkinson said she didn’t expect to find such variety. She said while some songs date from the 19th century, others are even older but regained popularity during that time.

“The research for this was a real eye opener, I had no idea,” Atkinson said. “There are some songs that are fun and even funny and upbeat and we’ll rock them out a little bit, and some of them are more contemplative like In the Bleak Midwinter. And then there’s some that sound almost like the Salvation Army chorus and we’ll be doing some of that, too. So it’s widely varied and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

WHAT’S ON … Anna Atkinson presents Carols and Candlelight: Songs from a Victorian Christmas at Cedar United Church, 1644 Cedar Rd., on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, call or text 250-327-2247.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo woman to compete in new season of ‘Big Brother Canada’

Carol Rosher, a cancer survivor, is one of 16 houseguests appearing on reality TV show

Nanaimo Buccaneers win in overtime in playoff opener

Bucs goalie Austin Dendl makes 46 saves to lead his team to 2-1 win over Campbell River Storm

Banned Nanaimo investment advisor accused of lying under oath to investigators

B.C. Securities Commission to schedule hearing in March

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Opal frustrations creating danger

Traffic-calming on Opal Road has increased driving speeds on Rock City Road, says letter writer

RDN bylaw allows people experiencing homelessness to camp overnight in some parks

Board of directors unanimously passes park use regulations bylaw

VIDEO: Reconciliation is dead: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Blockade reroutes traffic on Pat Bay Highway

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Commute in Nanaimo slowed as SUV goes up onto highway barrier, gets stuck

Accident happened at 5 p.m. on old Island Highway and Highland Boulevard

Most Read