(Posted 11:30 a.m., Dec. 10)
Vivo provides a Christmas choral circumnavigation of the globe
By Fred Sherwin
Vivo Ottawa performed their annual Christmas concert in front
of a packed house at the Orleans United Church this past Friday
and Saturday. File photo
spirit of Christmas has been reflected in song the world over, including
compositions from such far flung countries as Argentina and Ghana.
like "Issay, Issay! (Hear Ye, Hear Ye!)" from Ethiopia,
and the Jamaican carol "Mary's Little Boy Child" made famous
by Harry Belafonte, have become familiar seasonal jingles in North
America. Others, however, are much more obscure.
drew upon the international songbook of the holiday season as inspiration
for their annual Christmas concert held at Orleans United Church last
Friday and Saturday.
took their audience on a choral circumnavigation of the globe during
a 90 minute performance that touched down in Africa, Europe, South
America and the Caribbean before arriving back in Canada.
journey started out in Canada with the French Canadian song "Le
Train d'Hiver", and then quickly crossed the pond for stops in
Sweden, the United Kingdom, France and Germany before pausing for
a brief respite as the audience joined in the singing of "Hark
the Herald Angels Sing".
was quickly "rejoined" with a stop in the Basque region
of Spain which provided the highlight of the first half of the evening's
performance with a trio of "night" songs: "The Gentle
Voice of the Night", "Give Me This Christmas Night"
and "O Lovely Christmas Star" featuring soloist Reinhard
the program journeyed to Africa with stops in Ghana, South Africa
and Ethiopia for a rousing performance of "Issay! Issay!".
a brief intermission the audience was transported to South America
for stops in Argentina and Venezuela and then hopped over to the Dominican
Republic and Jamaica.
the tradition of past Coro Vivo Christmas concerts, the younger members
of the audience were invited to the front of the room to join in the
singing of "Away In The Manger". As the song came to a close
a special guest arrived wearing a bright red suit trimmed in white
fur. Santa arrived just in time to give his greetings and hand out
treats for the kids.
then came full circle with a medley of more familiar holiday compositions
such as "Sleigh Ride" and "Jingle Bells" featuring
soloists Maxime Passer and Kevin Russell.
provided a perfect setting for the concert thanks to the room's amazing
acoustics as the final Hallelujah in "Laudate Dominum" would
attest. The concert was brought to a close with "Christmas Joy"
, a feeling shared by every member of the audience.
all, it was another wonderful performance by one of Ottawa's premiere
choruses which can trace its roots back to Blackburn Hamlet where
the group was first formed in 1983.
was accompanied on piano by their resident pianist Louise Léveillé
who was ably joined in the music pit by guest instrumentalists Alex
MacFarlane on percussion and Philippe Charbonneau on double bass.
next public performance will be this spring when they will celebrate
the folk traditions of the British Isles andthe Canadian Maritimes
in a choral concert with Celtic origins. For more information visit
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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