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Phoenix Chamber Choir’s Graeme Langager teases ‘The Singing Heart’s new-to-Vancouver pieces

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It’s Christmas choral season at Artslandia, and we reached out to Artistic Director Graeme Langager to ask a few questions about Phoenix Chamber Choir’s Christmas concert, The Singing Heart.

Phoenix Chamber Choir rounds out our Artslandia Christmas choral offerings with The Singing Heart, their 32nd annual holiday concert—so popular that they’ve just had to add a second show time. This year, they’ll be joined by the West Vancouver Youth Honour Choirs to perform a world premiere, as well as beloved pieces from the USA and the UK. After the 7:30pm performance, there will be a reception filled with warm holiday treats, truly making the event a cozy seasonal music experience.

Rebecca Karpus: What kind of program can the audience expect from The Singing Heart?

Graeme Langager: Audiences are in for a treat. The Singing Heart will feature a perfect blend of music for the holiday season: lively, jubilant, serene, reflective, and a little bit of holiday magic – something truly special for everyone.

RK: Compared to other Christmas concerts, what makes The Singing Heart unique?

GL: In addition to offering several best-loved works for the season, we’ve added a few stunning new compositions that will be instant favourites of Vancouver choral aficionados.

RK: Can you speak a little about the collaboration between you and the guest youth choir featured in The Singing Heart?

GL: It has been so exciting to see an increase in the number of youth choirs and young people singing in the lower mainland. The West Van Youth Honour Choir is doing wonderful work under the leadership of conductor Tiffany Chen, and founding director, Suzanne Fulton. These young singers are outstanding.

RK: I see that The Singing Heart features some brand new Christmas music. Can you share some details?

GL: We have some brand new music this season, including one world premiere, and a couple of pieces from the UK and the US that will be new to Vancouver audiences. I’m particularly excited to present Daniel Elder’s shimmering “O Magnum Mysterium”, and Jonathan Rathbone’s “The Oxen”.

RK: The Phoenix Chamber Choir has a long-standing tradition of Christmas concerts. How do you feel these concerts have developed throughout the years?

GL: The Phoenix Christmas concerts have developed a huge following in our 32-year history. We love to sing this music for our audiences, and include them in the magic of the season. And, we have a special reception open to all, following our 7:30pm concert – join us for hot cider and home-baked treats, and meet the singers.

RK: I see that The Singing Heart has recently added another show time due to popular demand. What do you think it is that brings such crowds to this event?

GL: It has been exciting to see our audiences steadily growing. Recent performances with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well our recent recognition in the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs (first prizes in Chamber Choir and New Music Categories and best performance of a Canadian work) have created quite a buzz. We anticipate that our 7:30pm program on Dec 20th will sell out, so we’ve added a second show at 3:00pm.

RK: Describe The Singing Heart in three words.

GL: Magical. Heart-felt. Powerful. Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 10.17.41 AM

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The Singing Heart | December 20 at Ryerson United Church at 7:30pm. For tickets, click here.