Individual voices bring Bach Christmas

The Victoria Bach Ensemble features violin, cello, trumpet and a pair of voices as they bring the season to life with a Bach Christmas.

David Barss on trumpet and Michael Drislane on piano

David Barss on trumpet and Michael Drislane on piano

Lifelong Bach enthusiasts Michael Drislane and David Barss will bring the legend to life with a Christmas concert at St. John the Divine this Saturday.

The Victoria Bach Ensemble features violin, cello, flute, trumpet, keyboards, bass and a pair of voices as they bring the season to life with a Bach Christmas.

“We’re lucky because Victoria has a lot of good musicians. So it’s a great experience to work with people who really want to play,” Drislane said. “It’s one of those great music, great players scenarios that should be fun for all involved.”

The ensemble the pair started about a year ago likes to keep it clean and simple – one player per part. No conductor required, each player becomes a single voice.

“It leads to a very pure uncluttered sound,” Barss said. “It’s more of an intimate experience because you can hear every voice, with one cello you can hear the cello’s voice.”

“The first half is a lot of instrumental, we don’t have the singers until the second half,” Drislane said.

That’s when Victoria soprano Rachel Fenlon will perform.

“Rachel Fenlon is very, very well regarded in the musical community nationally,” Barss said. “She’s a first-call A-list player.”

Fenlon was chosen to be part of the  Vancouver Opera Association’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program in its inaugural year. Among other roles, she will appear as “Mabel” in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

The concert will include  Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, chorale prelude Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland and selections from Christmas Oratorio, Cantatas 36, 51, and 140 Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, Art of the Fugue.

“The only one that maybe isn’t advent or Christmas is the Brandenburg Concerto,” Barss said. “My musical partner Michael Drislane who’s a brilliant musician, he’s doing the Brandenburg on the piano … Hearing the B5 on the piano it lives and breathes you’ve got dynamic range, it’s amazing.”

“We wanted to add something to the program that maybe wasn’t all Christmas. We’ve done this piece before and we got so many comments  (including) ‘astonished’ and ‘wonderful’,” Barss added. “It’s a beautiful piece of music regardless, and it’s not it’s like not Christmas.”

A Bach Christmas takes place Saturday, Dec. 22 at Church of St. John the Divine, 1611 Quadra St. Tickets are $15 at the door. Students and seniors are $10.

“We always get a very good turnout,” Barss said. “We do it because we love playing Bach and we’ve always done our concerts at St. John the Divine, so any extra money goes to them.”

The players: The performance includes Sharon Stanis, violin; Maddie Reid, violin; Donna Robertson, viola; Alasdair Money, cello; Bruce Miekle, bass; Lanny Pollet, flute; David Barss, trumpet; Michael Drislane, music director and keyboards; and baritone Nicholas Allen.

 

Just Posted

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

With local high schoolers unable to have a traditional graduation ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, Amica Douglas House celebrated the momentous occasion of eight of their dining room servers. (Courtesy Amica Douglas House)
8 Greater Victoria teens don fancy dresses, celebrate grad with seniors

With celebrations nixed, Amica Douglas House hosts event for its serving staff

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read