Jesus Christ - the resounding motif at the third annual Christmas at the Chan Centre concert.

The audience at the sold out Christmas at the Chan Centre on Sunday December 3, 2006 experienced one such concert when the Trinity Western University Choirs and TWU Chamber Singers, Mennonite Education Institute Chamber Singers and Concert Choir and the Pacific Mennonite Children's Choir took to the stage with full symphonic orchestra to present the third annual Christmas concert.

Like the program's title “Jesus we Crown You with Praise” the entire symphonic and choral concert's repertoire focused on Jesus Christ, the central figure in the sacred Christmas story.

After opening remarks and prayer from Trinity Western University's president Dr. Jonathan Raymond, the scene was set for the concert to begin. Wes Janzen, Artistic Director and Director of Choral Activities took to the conducting platform as the crowd hushed in anticipation of the first notes of the two hour concert. The program began triumphantly with over two-hundred voices singing acapella, the classical Christmas carol, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” The sound saturated and swirled throughout the Chan Centre's remarkable design and outstanding acoustics enveloping the audience with the theme of the program – Jesus.

The annual event is a project of the patron of the concert Mr. Tom Chan who shared his vision for a concert with Artistic Director Wes Janzen that would “act as a natural expression of his faith that connects with warm memories of childhood, family and loved ones.” The two then connected their visions to create a Christmas celebration that would tell the biblical Christmas story with music.

Dr. J.I. Packer, one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century, offered spoken word throughout the twenty-three song concert. Audiences were invited to join the choirs and orchestra on two selections, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and “The First Noel.” Soprano soloist Alison Nystrom and Chad Louwerse, bass soloist, were featured on “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth,” and “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” selections from Handel's Messiah. One of the most tranquil and beautiful pieces, featured the Pacific Mennonite Childrens choir with the Austrian carol arranged by M. Wilberg entitled “Still, Still, Still” where the orchestration was as tender and beautiful as the children's voices. “Away in a Manger” featuring perfectly played solos by oboe and flute also was performed in the manner it was intended to be – the sweetest, holiest lullaby ever written.

With celestial voices, select female members of the TWU choirs were speckled throughout the heights of the venue and sang angelically parts of “Angels We Have Heard On High” giving audiences a little taste of what heaven could be like.

After multiple standing ovations the program then concluded with a bookend performance of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.”

Dr. Jonathan Raymond President of Trinity Western University commented, “What a tremendous concert. I believe Jesus, the central holy figure of Christmas, was honored, exalted and lifted up here today. I'm extremely thankful to Mr. Tom Chan and Wes Janzen for their vision, their patronage and immense dedication in making this celebration possible.”

In addition to their yearly appearance at the Chan Centre, The TWU Choirs are frequently invited to perform with professional organizations, including the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the CBC Radio Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Last year, the TWU Choir was invited to perform at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City.

This year, the vision for this concert will extend to Kiev where the same repertoire will be performed by the Kiev Symphony Orchestra Chorus in the renowned Philharmonia Hall. Under the direction of Wes Janzen the concert will be performed completely in Ukrainian bringing again the focal point of Jesus to international audiences.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from business, communications and education to biotechnology and nursing, and offers 15 graduate degrees in such areas as counseling psychology, business, the humanities, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum