North Island Choral presents A Fantasy of English Carols

On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the North Island Choral Society, with a supporting orchestra of 20 musicians, will perform their winter concert, A Fantasy of English Carols.

A fantasia is a musical composition with a free form and one that is often based on several familiar tunes. It may also be composed of a mixture of different forms or styles. The works chosen by director Paul Colthorpe for this concert are truly a collection of fantasia by four well-known English composers of the 20th century: Benjamin Britten, Gustav Holst, John Rutter, and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The choir will be supported by accompanist, Elvera Penner, and the orchestra with choirmaster Corrine Davies, along with soloists Carol Anne Parkinson, Sophie Simard and Christoper Bellamy.

The Magnificat by John Rutter is a composition of seven movements based on the verses from the Gospel of St. Luke wherein the Virgin Mary learns that she is to give birth to Christ.

He combines Latin text with an English poem; Gregorian chants with Latin American elements to reflect the feast days of the Virgin which are celebrated with singing, dancing and processions.

A Ceremony of Carols is a choral piece by Benjamin Britten which consists of eleven movements with text in Latin and in Middle English based on poems from the 15th and 16th centuries. Many of the movements are written as rounds or call-and-response pieces; the Gregorian chant in unison marks the beginning and end. The parts range from upbeat and festive to reverent; quiet and soothing to dark and foreboding, making this another fantasia for advent.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols is a choral tapestry of folk songs from southern England: The Truth Sent From Above, Come All You Worthy Gentlemen, On Christmas Night, and There is a Fountain. It also features fragments of other well-known carols such as The First Nowell.

Some five years before writing The Planets, Gustav Holst wrote Christmas Day, a choral fantasia of old carols. He makes use of familiar tunes such as God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and The First Nowell in combination with the Old Breton Melody and Good Christian Men, Rejoice to weave a festive piece of solo and choral parts with the central theme of rejoicing.

Join us for a memorable afternoon or evening of wonderful music in celebration of Advent. The concerts at 7:30 p.m. and on Dec. 1 at 2 p.m., at St. George’s United Church, 505 6th Street in Courtenay.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Blue Heron Books in Comox and Laughing Oyster Books in Courtenay. Tickets can also be obtained at the door. Tickets for ages 12 and under can be purchased at the bookshops and at the door for $5.

For more information: northislandchoral.ca

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