The Sooke Philharmonic Chorus.

Holiday season begins with music

Sooke Philharmonic Chamber Players and Chorus in concert

Once upon a time, there was a monk named Brother Heinrich.

That’s the opening of John Rutter’s fable, which also involves a donkey named Sigismond, a Christmas celebration at the monastery, a hard-to-please abbot, and of course music. A fable with music for narrator, mixed choir, and small orchestra, or oboe, bassoon, and piano. This delightful work tells the story of the 14th Century Dominican mystic Heinrich Suso who, according to legend, notated the carol In dulci jubilo after it had been sung to him by a band of angels; he is unexpectedly aided by Sigismund, his donkey.

Told with warmth and droll humor, Brother Heinrich’s Christmas has become a holiday favorite.

On Dec. 1 and 2, Paul Terry will narrate the classic tale at Music for the Festive Season featuring the Sooke Philharmonic Chamber Players and Sooke Philharmonic Chorus conducted by Wade Noble.

The chorus began as the Sooke Festival Chorus, performing in the millennium Sooke Festival of Performing Arts under the direction of Christopher Symons. After two seasons, it became the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus in 2002, with Mary Holland as Choral Director.

Now under the direction of Wade Noble, this auditioned group of approximately 30 singers performs classical repertoire with the Sooke Philharmonic Chamber Players twice a year.

Handel’s  Messiah (Hallelujah Chorus and other favourites) will be performed along with a Christmas Carol Sing-along. Soloist for the evening is Nancy Washeim, soprano.

The SPO has partnered with the Sooke Christmas Bureau for this concert and a portion of the proceeds will go to the bureau’s fundraising activities.

Music for the Festive Season on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Sooke Baptist Church, 7110 West Coast Road at 7:30 p.m. and at New St. Mary’s Church in Metchosin on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m.