Though the Lower Mainland was heavily blanketed in snow, audience members who did make their way through the weather to the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday afternoon were treated to two modern classical compositions and one musical fable as they attended the 4th Annual Christmas at the Chan Centre Concert.
Introduced by Dr. J.I. Packer, the first selection was John Rutter's (b.1945) Gloria. The three movement composition in Latin featured brass, organ and choir and told the story of the angels proclaiming Christ's birth. The second movement, entitled "Domine Deus, Rex caelestis", was strikingly beautiful as it began with tender melodic organ, played by Trinity Western University alum Ay Laung Wang. As her fingers proficiently and elegantly caressed the grand organ's keys, the sound created a grown-up lullaby, conjuring visuals of twinkling stars and gently falling snow.
Due to the inclement weather, the Pacific Mennonite Children's Choir had been delayed on the highway. With a "show must go on attitude" Janzen joked with the audience and explained the change in performance order from that of the program. Thus, the performance of Ruth Watson Henderson's (b. 1932) The Last Straw, which should have been performed first, would now be performed. Wearing an Egyptian inspired tunic, Janzen took to the stage to conduct the musical fable that featured the children's choir and told the story of an old, tired camel named Hashmakaka and his journey to take more than just the traditional gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ- child. Other gifts included bags of corn, jugs of milk, leather, and pillars of oak and jewelry. As each new request was asked of him, the camel complained humorously about his "gout" and his "sciatic" nerve. The performance featured TWU soloist, Thomas Bergen, who played the role of the aging camel, singing centre stage while wearing a camelesque costume complete with a hump!
The program's concert concluded with the ambitious Magnificat, by Paul Patterson (b.1947), also known as Mary's Song. Weighted heavily upon the brass section, the composition went on to blend the challenging, complex and dissonant scores of the vocals seamlessly. As the choirs sang the words "My soul doth magnify the Lord", the sound swelled louder and bolder to crescendo adding full orchestra and organ.
If you weren't able to attend the sold out Christmas at the Chan Centre concert featuring the Trinity Western University family of choirs, you're still in luck. The concert will be repeated...however, it will be in the Ukraine. Janzen, the Canadian conductor and Director of Choral Activities at Trinity Western University, will be heading to Kiev in early January and bringing a number of TWU choir members with him. The singers will be appearing at the invitation of the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and will perform both the Gloria and Magnificat at Kiev's renowned Philharmonic Hall. Janzen will be appearing as KSOC's Principal Guest Conductor.
The next concert at the Chan Centre and featuring the performances of Ay Laung Wang and the TWU Family of Choirs and Pacific Mennonite Children's Choir will take place on Sunday, April 6th at 2:30pm. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster.
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 biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music to business, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 15 graduate degrees include such areas as counseling psychology, business, theology, administrative leadership and interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history.
Last Updated: 2007-12-05