Harmonious pandemonium celebrates Christmas and its story at St. Mary’s in Oak Bay.
In an ongoing tradition during the Family Christmas Carol Sing-along Concert, children will join conductor Peter Butterfield to sing carols and even lead the Victoria Philharmonic Choir.
“It’s a singalong concert, it’s a community participating event. Really family oriented and really focused on kids enjoying themselves. It’s sort of a jamboree,” Butterfield said. “My favourite part of it is that it’s not a formal worship event … it celebrates the Christmas season and story without formalizing it.”
There are moments during the concert – as they sweep through performances, solos and singalong – when Butterfield sits back and enjoys the show from the audience.
“I just wander around and say ‘who wants to conduct now?’ They get on the podium and then we have a contest to see how many kids can we get on the podium. Last year it was 11,” Butterfield said. “That’s a beautiful moment, when I realize I’m not that important.”
This year’s edition of VPC’s annual concert features 16-year-old soprano soloist Julia Hensley, and the Brasstastic Quartet, an ensemble of graduates and students from the University of Victoria.
“You never get bored,” Butterfield said. “At the end everybody’s standing up because they’re singing and they don’t know whether to clap or collapse… because they’ve done it.”
Along with familiar favourites for audience participation, the concert includes new musical twists on traditional carols, and repertoire that ranges from 17th century Monteverdi to more contemporary composers such as Britten and Rutter, accompanied by Vancouver organist Michael Molnar.
“I love when the whole thing is in full flight, when everybody in the room is singing and there’s a sense of celebration of this special time of year,” Butterfield said. It’s all about “fun, fun, fun and bring your voice with you.”
The Family Christmas Carol Sing-along Concert is Monday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. in St. Mary’s Church, 1701 Elgin Rd.
Doors will open by 6:30, and it’s first come, first served, with the front benches reserved for those with small children. Tickets are $20, $10 for students and free for children 12 and younger, available at Ivy’s Bookshop, the Shieling, Long & McQuade, Tanner’s books in Sidney and online at vpchoir.ca.