Christmas concert features familiar themes and a tribute to 150 years of Canada’s nationhood
During the Community Choir’s annual Christmas concert on Friday, December 15, the Allied Arts Centre in Elk Point swelled with music. The performance featured two songs written by the choir director, Udo Mueller, for the Canada 150 celebrations held in St. Paul this past summer. His pieces, “Flags as Borders” and “Confederation” express his pride in Canada’s peaceful settlement, and gave Sheila Hatch a turn at leading the choir.
The Christmas repertoire ranged from adaptations of traditional carols, like “The Holly and the Ivy” to the more contemporary “Holiday Road.” A special performance highlighted six members of the choir who practice together on Friday nights. They shared four more complex pieces, all sung a capella! Udo Mueller, Linden Lundback, Kelsey Taylor, Sheila Hatch, Dixie Coleman and Ashley Heyden revealed their musical expertise in layers of “ding, dong,” “sing, sing,” and “Hosanna in the Highest.”
Talented choir members took roles in accompanying the singers. Taylor sang solo during “Confederation” and Heyden opened the carol, “There’s Still My Joy” with her powerful soprano. Robin Sieben played the flute through “The Holly and the Ivy” and the Welsh lullaby “Suo Gân.” For “Starlight (Shining on the Baby)” Dixie Coleman played the shakers, as she did during “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy,” when Taylor joined her on the hand drum. Taylor also conducted “Holiday Road.”
In Mueller’s address, he commended the choir members on sharing their time, talent, and vulnerability to bring music to the festive season. Since the beginning of November, they have sung in Marwayne at a fundraiser, and in St. Paul at a Christmas mass for Grace Gardens, a get-together at Sunnyside, and a service at the Latter Day Saints church. They also performed one evening at the Seventh Day Adventist church in Beauvallon. Mueller thanked the audience for, “coming to accept our gift of song” then invited choir alumni to the stage to join “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).” About a dozen audience members climbed the risers and added their voices to the piece, once more embracing the camaraderie of music.