Vancouver Island Symphony harpist Lani Krantz and the rest of Winter Harp play the Port Theatre on Dec. 11. (Photo courtesy Lori Pappajohn)

Vancouver Island Symphony harpist Lani Krantz and the rest of Winter Harp play the Port Theatre on Dec. 11. (Photo courtesy Lori Pappajohn)

Winter Harp’s medieval Christmas production returns to Nanaimo

B.C. ensemble to perform at Port Theatre for first time in two years

A medieval Christmas tradition is returning to Nanaimo.

On Dec. 11 Winter Harp comes to the Port Theatre. The ensemble is just now returning to in-person performance after releasing a video last year in lieu of touring due to COVID-19. The group specializes in Christmas music from the Dark Ages and features obscure era instruments like the psaltery and nyckelharpa.

This is Vancouver Island Symphony harpist Lani Krantz’s fifth year with the group. She said she’s looking forward to finally playing live again, albeit with pandemic precautions in place.

“We used to process through the audience and this year we’re going to process thought the back, so all these little tiny changes to keep people safe, but it’s going to be really exciting,” she said. “We’re getting our costumes today. We’re doing our fittings. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to get into our garb.”

Krantz said Winter Harp has “a pretty big reputation” among the global harp community and she wanted to be a part of the group since her university days. But when she was told they finally had an opening it came at an interesting time.

“I was actually in labour and [Winter Harp director Lori Pappajohn] sent me an email saying, ‘Would you like to join Winter Harp this year?’ and I was like, ‘Uh, well, I’m a little busy, but yeah, I do.’” Krantz said.

Of all the ensembles she plays with, Krantz said Winter Harp stands out because of the unique way in which the players connect with those in the crowd. She said “it’s very differently from playing in the orchestra – you’re there with the audience and singing together.”

That sense of togetherness is particularly meaningful this year, she said.

“We talk about ‘the spirit of Christmas’ in movies but now we actually know, after having a COVID year and being separated from friends and family and not being able to make music together. Now we can really internalize how that feels. What Christmas is,” Krantz said. “So, I feel like for all of us it’s a really different presentation this year. It’s really just about being together and having this music.”

WHAT’S ON … Winter Harp performs at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Dec. 11 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets $35 for adults, $30 for members, $15 for students with valid ID. Tickets available here. Pre-show chat in the theatre at 2:45 p.m. Alternatively, tickets may be available for the next day’s show Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan. For information, visit http://cowichanpac.ca or by calling 1-250-746-2722.

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