St. Paul's United Church was alive with the sound of music when the Souris District Arts Council brought both the 23-voice Brandon University Chorale and the 47-voice Vincent Massey Concert Choir to town!
Leading up the path to the church were ice candles, with the flame sparkling through the ice crystals. The church was beautifully decorated with candles and lanterns beneath the stained glass windows, along with poinsettias, bells, and evergreen boughs throughout the church.
The University Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Andrée Dagenais, opened the evening with a Gregorian chant sung from the balcony of the sanctuary, setting the mood for the evening. This choir entranced those present with eight selections, all sung so beautifully a cappella and in other languages. The glorious harmony of the two soprano soloists wafted in and out of the swells of the choir, a real gift for those present.
The three Vincent Massey choirs, under the direction of Ms. Kara Dixon, performed at various times throughout the programme, first with the 13-voice Chamber Choir singing a soothing lullaby, a hauntingly beautiful O Magnum Mysterium, and a more joyful Scarborough Carol. The 12-voice Vocal Jazz Group brought a smile to everyone's face and a tap to their feet as they sang traditional carols in a non-traditional way. The Concert Choir shared their renditions of the spiritual, Go Tell It On the Mountain, an upbeat Jingle Bells, which kept everyone on their toes, and the expressive Spanish carol A La Nananita Nana.
The choirs combined twice during the evening, first for a powerful melodic version of The Holly and the Ivy, and then for The Thirteen Days of Christmas, a delightful menagerie of lines from various carols we all know and love. An audience singalong brought the programme to a close, and everyone was invited to the auditorium, where they were served hot apple cider and tarts. The energy in the room was tangible, with performers and audience members alike sharing the experience and wishing the best of the season to all. This truly was an evening to be remembered!