Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Carol for Christmas - with Songs Strings & Steps

Songs Strings & Steps presents
A Carol for Christmas
Director: Calvin Dyck    Designer: Sylvia Friesen
Thursday, December 20, 7 p.m.
Friday, December 21, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 22, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Central Heights Church, 1661 McCallum Road, Abbotsford
Tickets: Adults $25; Seniors $22; Students $12 - plus applicable fees and HST
At  Kings Music or House of James

And the next famous Christmas Carol is...
They come from across Canada, the US and Fraser Valley – new Christmas carols to be performed by the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra and special guest artists during “A Carol for Christmas”, this year’s spectacular Songs Strings & Steps community Christmas concert (December 20 – 22) at Central Heights Church.

A carol competition!
There will be great entertainment, sets, props and costumes, comedy, drama, poetry, the traditional carols, a sing-along, and of course – surprises – but with a new and exciting concept! Says Calvin Dyck, Abbotsford’s forever creative and enthusiastic musical director, “It all started when I came bounding down the stairs with an idea – to host a carol competition!” The Songs Strings & Steps team pulled together a prize purse of $5,500, and in the spring of this year sent out word to composers, universities and various publications. “We got about 30 entries from around North America and had a jury choose the best eight.”

Local composers too!
While names were not included in the jury process (and will not be during voting) finalists include Larry Nickel, Stan Gubiotti and Karen Savage, all from the Fraser Valley!

Audience to vote
“We have four concerts this year (last year we had three and they were virtually sold out) and, like the popular TV shows, at each concert the audience gets to vote on their favourite carol and winners will be announced during the final show,” explains Calvin.

The next famous Christmas carol?
“The composers have all put in a lot of work; they were free to use their own text or an existing text with new music. There is one piece for choir and organ, one for choir and strings, one solo carol with guitar and strings and other combinations. They all have different orchestrations. You just never know where the next famous Christmas carol will come from – maybe Abbotsford!”

Another magnificent variety show with great talent
The wonderful soprano Alison Nystrom returns as featured soloist with the carol competition and for Rejoice from Handel’s Messiah. New to Songs Strings & Steps are the Pilkey Sisters, recent arrivals to Abbotsford – three sisters with perfectly matching voices. There will be excerpts from the Nutcracker performed by outstanding dancers from the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance, the Langley Cello Ensemble, soaring solos from Calvin on his violin, a featured brass ensemble, and Abbotsford’s newest choral sensation iSing along with additional community singers to form a mass choir.

Surprises, delights and treats
And of course, there are ALWAYS surprises! “Last year we had 1000 snowballs made of yarn which the audience was invited to throw. This year we have 1000 of something else – but that has to remain a surprise! And during intermission we have special delights. Following the concert, in the true spirit of Christmas, the audience gets to take home a treat.”

So mark your calendars
That’s four dates to choose from - Thursday, December 20, 7 p.m., Friday, December 21, 7 p.m., Saturday, December 22, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. at Central Heights Church, 1661 McCallum Road, Abbotsford. To be sure of a seat, book your tickets now (adults $25; seniors $22; students $12 - plus applicable fees and HST) at Kings Music or House of James. (Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more by contacting

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