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(Posted 5:30 p.m., Dec. 10)
Coro Vivo Ottawa celebrates 30 Christmases in one memorable evening of song
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Coro Vivo Ottawa performed their annual Christmas concert at the Orleans United Church on the weekend, and as always, they did not disppoint. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Coro Vivo Ottawa celebrated their 30th Christmas together on Saturday with their second of two concerts at the Orléans United Church.

Mesmorizing, remarkable, extraordinary, powerful... are all adjectives that can be used to describe their performance. The chorus has come a long way since its very first Christmas concert three decades ago. In fact, they've come along way just in the last 10 years.

I personally can't imagine celebrating the holiday season without going to see and listen to Coro Vivo's annual Christmas concert and this year they managed to deliver a superb performance yet again.

Besides singing an array of Christmas carols both familiar and not so familiar, the chorus also sang an original composition by John Gordon Armstrong and Susan McMaster entitled "Gold and Glory", which they co-wrote to mark the special occasion .

Over the years, the Coro Vivo's holiday concert has become one of my favourite holiday events. They are without a doubt one of the most preeminate choruses in the city and residents in the east are truly blessed to be able to welcome them back each and every year.

It doesn't hurt that the Orleans United Church has amazing acoustics. Between the chorus and the venue, you couldn't ask for a better night's entertainment.

The 48-member ensemble began the evening's program with a contemporary take on the medieval hymn "O Magnum Mysterium", followed by a contemporary adaptation of the Old English carol "Balulalow" by Kingston composer Mark Seritt.

The two songs set the tone beautifully for the "Gold and Glory" which was commissioned by the chorus to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

The composition with its closing line, "Glory in voices raised in song", is a wonderful tribute to the group and its members both past and present, including the late Lynn Nightingale to whom the evening's performance was dedicated.

After "God and Glory" the audience was invited to join in the singing of the traditional holiday classic "O Come, All Ye Faithful".

Next up on the program was two original contemporary carols written by Sirett. The first is entitled "If Ye Would Hear the Angels Sing". And the second was "Thou Shalt Know Him When He Comes".

The audience was then invited to join in singing the popular French carol "Il est né le divin enfant", after which the chorus performed London, Ontario composer Jeff Smallman's arrangment of the traditional French lullaby "Dors, Dors, Dors".

One of the highlights of the evening followed as the chorus sang a very unique adaptation of "The Twelve Days of Christmas", arranged by Bob Chilcott, and featuring soloists Tracy Regnier and Nancy McCaughan.

The concert was brought to a close with a medley of Christmas classics starting with "Wassail", or "Here we come a-caroling", and running through "Il est né le divin enfant", "Veni, Veni Emmanuel", "The Holly and the Ivy", "God Rest Ye Marry Gentlemen", and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas".

Although the concert was a little more than an hour long, it seemed to go by in an instant and just like that, it was over.

Coro Vivo will now take a couple of well-deserved weeks off before turning their attention to their annual spring concert to be held on April 24 at St. Joseph's Church on Laureir Avenue East, where they will be performing Morten Lauridsen's "Lux Aeterna: Songs of Light".

For more information about Coro Vivo visit their website at

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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