Chor LeoniChor Leoni Men's Choir
Yuletide Fires

Dates and Venues 17 December 2010 7:30pm at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church, 1022 Nelson St.; 18 December 2010 1 pm at St. Mary's Kerrisdale Anglican Church, 2490 W 37th Ave. AND 18 December 2010 7:30 pm at West Vancouver United Church, 2062 Esquimalt Ave, West Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

A quiet concert, indeed, as the audience was invited by the versatile conductor Diane Loomer, C.M. to a concert of reflection and calm amidst the busy days of December. Yuletide Fires refocused on the original intent of the season, the music of Christmas carollers.

With a repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant, traditional carols, and recently arranged seasonal favourites, Yuletide Fires' opening night at St. Andrew's offered an oasis of peace amidst the holiday bustle. We all joined the choir who surrounded the audience with the traditional Mendelssohnian "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and again, at the end, with Reading's "O Come, All Ye Faithful".

In between were some religious songs sung a capella: the Ambrosian chant "Ave Maria" and Ola Gjeilo's "Ubi Caritas", and others not too familiar: Joseph Jennings' "Beata Viscera", arranged by pianist Ken Cormier, and Healey Willan's "The Three Kings", arranged by Loomer. I liked the interpretation of soloists Bruce Hoffman and Byron Hanson of Von Bingen's "O Vis Aeternitatis", as well as the Spanish traditional "A la nanita nana", the cooing of a mother to her baby as she sings her to sleep.

Many traditionals carols were sung magnificently by this award-winning choir: "What Child Is This", the original version of "Oh Holy Night!", Adolphe Adam's "Cantique de Noel", and the delightful Newfoundland "Mummer Song" where carollers in Newfoundland would dress up in outrageous costumes and go carolling.

This was indeed a traditional Christmas concert, nothing fancy, nothing extraordinary, perhaps a reflection of what Loomer refers to in her programme notes on what Christmas is all about: "...stillness...quietness...treasured words...familar carols...".

:. © 2010 Ed Farolan