For some Yukoners, there are only two seasons: summer and choir.
The four choirs of the Whitehorse Community Choir (WCC) reconvened in September, and, for the better part of three months, members have been rehearsing for this year’s Christmas concert entitled “Let it Snow.”
You can hear the 120 dedicated members of the WCC at the annual concert Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Yukon Arts Centre.
The choir will perform some well-known Christmas favourites, in addition to some lesser-known arrangements. One such selection is “Credo” from the Argentinean Misa Criolla, a 1964 folk mass that translates as “Creole Mass.”
The concert will also feature “In the Bleak Midwinter,” a poem by Christina Rossetti that was set to music in the early 1900s. Say what you will about songs with “bleak” in the title, this carol is bound to send shivers up your spine.
There will also be Hawaiian cheer, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and (spoiler alert), a rendition of the seasonal anthem, “Let it Snow.”
The Christmas concert is typically a popular event that sells quickly, but for those who miss out, fear not. This year, the WCC is offering a takeout service.
The choir is renting out small groups of choristers to attend private parties and events and offer informal performances and sing-alongs.
For three weekends in December, groups of eight to 12 choristers are available to perform from a selection of 30 carols and holiday songs. The carolling groups are small enough to fit into a room, yet large enough to lead a group of timid co-workers.
Spence Hill, spokesperson for the WCC, explains that the carollers provide an opportunity to enjoy seasonal music in a less formal setting than the concert.
“Christmas carolling is more intimate,” she says. “It’s not a polished performance. We’re not studying harmonies to perfect it. With the Christmas concert we want to be perfect. With the carolling, we want to have fun.”
Make no mistake, the choristers are no rag-tag gang of singers.
“We try to have a balance of voices in each group” Hill says. “We have three sopranos, two altos, three tenors, and two basses, so we have a nice blend of voices.”
The carolling service is a fundraiser for the WCC, but it is also proof that music is a gift that keeps on giving. Hill explains that some businesses don’t book the service themselves, but elect to pay it forward.
“They’ve said, ‘We’d like to sponsor you to go to one of the seniors centres.’ So that is a nice service and the businesses stepping forward is really in the spirit of the season.”
And if that weren’t enough for the WCC to earn the “community” part of its title, it has even infiltrated the world of teenagers. Another new initiative this year involves the Music, Arts and Drama (MAD) program in the design of the Christmas concert poster. This year, the MAD students, who do a unit on graphic design, were assigned the task of designing a poster for the WCC.
“Every year we have to churn out another poster,” Hill explains. “Getting the MAD students involved brought a whole new energy and ideas. It was fabulous.”
The poster by grade 9 student Karyin Qui was chosen from all submitted and can be seen around town. In addition, all the student posters will be on display at the Christmas concert.
The Whitehorse Community Choirs, consisting of the Persephones, the Neptunes, the Chamber Choir, and the “big choir” will be performing Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. at the Yukon Arts Centre. Tickets are available at Arts Underground, yukonartscentre.com and yukontickets.com: adults $25, youth and seniors $20, children $15.