If there’s a season for singing — this is it.
Red Deer community and school choirs are gearing up for a busy pre-Christmas week of concerts — starting with Monday’s Nine Lessons and Carols.
Gaetz Memorial United Church will host a Christmas service that’s become a tradition at the King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England.
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was introduced in 1918 and has been broadcast near annually since 1928, reaching millions of people around the world.
Dale Dickau, producer of the local event, described it as a unique blend of story and song. It will include nine readings about Christ’s birth from the Books of Genesis, Isaiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Between the readings music will be provided by Lisa Ward’s mixed adult choir of 26 members, Soliloquy, as well as a children’s choir from Annie L. Gaetz School (directed by Moira Milne).
The church’s Golden Gaetz Ringers will create happy sounds with hand bells. And Dickau and Jacob Slaunwhite will accompany on the pipe organ.
Dickau promised “a very Christmas-y, old English” kind of evening. It will include God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Mary Did You Know, Joy to the World and other popular carols. Some will be performed as sing-alongs, while Soliloquy singers will be featured on others.
Tickets to the show, presented by the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra and Downtown Sounds @ Gaetz, are available from the RDSO office or at the door.
The biggest concert of the year for Ward’s three community choirs will be held Saturday, Dec. 17 — the WinterVoice Concert at First Christian Reformed Church, 16 McVicar Street.
With a theme of We Are the World, the Brioso Children’s Choir, the ihana Youth Choir and members of Soliloquy will sing the Lionel Ritchie/Michael Jackson anthem written as a fundraiser for the 1985 African famine, then rerecorded for victims of the Haitian earthquake in 2010.
Christmas music, such as Believe from The Polar Express movie, will also be performed.
The Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Choir, led by Lisa Friesen, will be the special guest at the concert, and pianist Matthew Peavoy will accompany.
Ward said some secular and sacred music will be presented during the 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. shows. Tickets are from any choir member or eventbrite.ca.
Soliloquy will finish the week with a heartfelt Sunday, Dec. 18, concert at Deer Park Alliance Church. Carols will be sung between dramatic readings from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
The 7 p.m. show is free, but a free-will offering will be taken to benefit the Mustard Seed charity.