Whether you want to sing along to Christmas favourites or just sit back and enjoy some festive sounds, these concerts will give you a big dose of that holiday spirit. Gospel, kids, medieval instruments, and of course Handel’s Messiah are among this year’s choices. See more below.
Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 7, Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe St.)—The Vancouver Chamber Choir blasts through this holiday perennial. It’s the 48th anniversary of the Choir, and Jon Washburn is conducting his 48th performance of the piece. Joining the choir are Pacifica Singers, Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, and a number of vocal soloists. For tickets visit ticketmaster.ca.
Caroling with Carousel: A Festive Concert Sing-a-long (Dec. 8, Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island, 1412 Cartwright St.)—Carousel Theatre for Young People hosts a family caroling event featuring local singing group the Gingerbread Men. They will perform an assortment of holiday classics and lead sing-a-longs of festive favourites. Holiday crafts and treats will be available before and after the show and during intermission. CTYP also invites audience members to bring a toy, for babies through teens, in new condition for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB). Recommended for all ages. Tickets are $35/18 (youth and children) at tickets.carouseltheatre.ca or 604-685-6217
Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas (Dec. 13 at St. John’s Shaughnessy, 1490 Nanton St., and Dec. 14 and 15, Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard St.)—The 90-voice gospel choir welcomes Vancouver Island jazz and blues singer Maureen Washington as guest at its traditional Christmas concerts. Selections this year include the debut of “Everybody Knows” by American gospel singer Israel Houghton and new arrangements of “O Holy Night” and “The First Noel.” The Staples Singers’ “Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas” and an arrangement of “Joy To The World” popularized by Whitney Houston in the movie The Preachers’ Wife are also on the bill. Tickets at brownpapertickets.com.
Winter Harp (Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church)—Celebrating its 25th year, Winter Harp has become renowned for delivering a unique holiday concert experience: against a backdrop of cathedral and snow, and clad in medieval attire, Winter Harp’s musicians and singers perform selections ranging from familiar carols to Celtic and medieval music. Celtic and classical harps, drums, temple bells, ﬂutes, violin/ﬁddle and an assortment of ancient and rare instruments—including 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—are the unusual instruments employed. Winter Harp is also performing at the Blue Shore Financial Performing Arts Centre (Dec. 12 13, Capilano University, North Vancouver and The ACT Arts Centre, Maple Ridge (Dec. 16, 3 7 p.m.). For tickets, visit ticketstonight.ca.