An orchestra may sway your heart with its high and low strings, bring on the rising fanfare with its army of brass and then tingle your soul with its repertoire of wind and reed, but a choir will join it all into one epic ensemble of music, passion and expression.
Little wonder really, that when the Sooke Community Choir joins the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, audiences abroad are left open-jawed and mesmerized by their performance.
The choir is still very much a unit of its own, however. This year, as many as 64 members are taking part, each one bringing a different voice into the ensemble, be it an alto, soprano, tenor or baritone. Regardless of who it is that is going “aaaa” one thing’s for sure: these folks are very much their own musical instruments.
To make sure those vocal chords stay in tune, artistic director Bruce Ruddell, a veteran of the music industry, also returns at the helm, running into his second season with the Sooke Choir.
And this Christmas season, the concerts will be a bit different too, focusing not only on Christmas, but on the holiday season as a whole, which is why the choir will split its holiday concerts into two different parts.
“I just didn’t want to do another Christmas show, but a winter show,” Ruddell said, hoping to change the beat this time. “I’m looking forward to the community coming in here and listening to some beautiful music. It’s very spiritual and uplifting, but not necessarily religious.”
The first concert will be on Sunday (Dec. 6), from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Church, called the Christmas Kickoff Singalong, where the choir will sing traditional carols with members of the community.
Second concert, called Song for a Winter’s Night will officially start on Dec. 11 at the Sooke Community Hall at 8 p.m., and will continue on Dec. 12 at 2 p.m., until Sunday (Dec. 13) at the Metchosin Community Hall.
Choir president Sally Titchkosky pointed out the second concert will be the centre piece of the Choir’s performance, as it will also include a set and interspersed poem reading between songs where choir members will read poems, either of their own or ones they enjoy.
“It’s not just going to be us walking into a room and singing, it’ll be more like an event,” she said, pointing out that new additions this year also include new lighting, as well as a donated grand piano, which will take the community hall stage on the night of the second concert.
Titchkosky joined two years ago, becoming a successful member and eventually president of the organization. She said anybody can join, because in the end, it’s about having fun and creating something truly unique in the community.
The Sooke Community Choir is also behind numerous performances, including its usual set on Remembrance Day, as well as several fundraising shows held at Edward Milne Community School.
Suggested donation for the Christmas Kickoff Singalong this Sunday is $5, plus a nonperishable item for the Sooke Food Bank.