Winter Harp concert full senory experience

Celebrate Christmas and the holiday season with Winter Harp.

Celebrate Christmas and the holiday season with Winter Harp.

Magnificent music and song, festive carols and enchanting stories will warm your heart and wrap you in the Christmas spirit.

One of Canada’s most beloved holiday concert traditions, the magic that is Winter Harp celebrates its 20th anniversary with a return to Courtenay on Dec. 12 as part of the Sid Williams Theatre Society’s Blue Circle Series.

More than a concert, Winter Harp is a sensory experience renowned for awe-inspiring performances, sold-out houses, standing ovations and rave reviews.

On stage, Winter Harp’s extraordinary musicians, clad in glorious medieval attire, perform a collection of music, songs and stories in celebration of winter and Christmas. The musical repertoire ranges from heartwarming carols and songs to Celtic, medieval, and world tunes. Dozens of candles light the stage, with breathtaking backdrops of cathedral and snow.

Add the beautifully carved instruments, and the entire show takes on the look of a luminous pre-Raphaelite painting, with golden Celtic and classical harps, drums, tambourines, temple bells, flutes and an assortment of beautiful ancient and rare instruments. Concert-goers thrill to the ethereal-sounding bass psaltery (the only one like it in the world), the organistrum (an early form of the hurdy-gurdy), and the Swedish nyckelharpa.

Winter Harp was founded in 1993 by Lori Pappajohn and poet/narrator Alan Woodland in a small chapel in Vancouver. Since then it has grown to include up to a dozen cities in its annual December tours of Western Canada.

Over the years, tens of thousands of people have made attending Winter Harp their annual tradition. With concerts on radio and TV, and with 10 CDs to its name, this world-class ensemble continues in its tradition of excellence.

“One of the reasons Winter Harp has been a 20-year success is that it gives people Christmas,” says director Lori Pappajohn. “The familiar carols and the touching stories take people home — home to Christmas, with its rich and cherished memories.”

For the 2013 tour, Winter Harp is delighted to announce that legendary harpist Kim Robertson will join the ensemble for a second year.

A virtuoso musician, Kim is among the world’s leading Celtic harpists, credited with bringing about the renaissance of the Celtic harp in North America.

Her ground-breaking arrangements and passionate performances helped launch the Celtic harp into the modern world. Kim’s work encompasses more than 40 recording projects and an international itinerary of workshops, concerts and retreats.

Also back is acclaimed singer/harpist Roger Helfrick. Helfrick is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who is classically trained as a baritone and accompanies himself on nylon-strung lever harp, gut-strung medieval harp, guitar, and psaltery. He makes his home in Courtenay and is a widely sought after harp teacher.

The full roster of 2013 Winter Harp is Kim Robertson (Celtic harp, voice), Janelle Nadeau (pedal harp, voice), Roger Helfrick (voice, harp, medieval guitar), Lauri Lyster (percussion, voice), Jeff Pelletier (flute, bass flute), Joaquin Ayala (nyckelharpas, bass psaltery, organistrum), Adam Henderson (narrator), and Lori Pappajohn (Celtic harp, voice, Winter Harp director).

Winter Harp is at the Sid Williams Theatre on Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for this Blue Circle Series performance can be purchased in person at the ticket centre from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., by phoning 250-338-2430 or online at sidwilliamstheatre.com.

—Sid Williams Theatre Society

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