Samara Bortz (foreground) leads a number with members of the Lux Childrens’ Choir, featured in Sunday’s concert, Glow, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at White Rock Baptist Church. (Contributed photo)

Crescent Choirs groups unite for Christmas concert

Program promises ‘magical evening of Christmas, winter and holiday music’

Samara Bortz wasn’t really intending to begin a choral family when she took over a Peninsula-based adult women’s choir from Sarona Mynhardt in 2016.

The latter was winding down her own White Rock Children’s Choir dynasty preparatory to retiring, with husband Johan, to the Sunshine Coast.

But Mynhardt – who was Bortz’ music teacher when she attended Ray Shepherd Elementary – planted a choral tradition in the community two decades ago that has taken deep roots and continues to flower to this day.

The ongoing need for multiple children’s and adult choir experiences in the White Rock and South Surrey can be seen from the phenomenal growth of Bortz’ Crescent Choirs organization.

Only three years later, this now includes six groups.

All will be showcased this Sunday (Dec. 8, 6 p.m.) at White Rock Baptist Church, 1657 140 St., as the organization presents Glow – billed as “a magical evening of Christmas, winter and holiday music.”

The program will bring together – for the first time in the same venue – the Angeli Children’s Choir (kindergarten to Grade 2 children), the Lux Children’s Choir (Grades 3-7, with high school mentors from the Youth Choir who volunteer each week at rehearsals); the Crescent Youth Choir (high school and university-aged students); the Crescent Women’s Choir (adult women, non-auditioned); the Luna Vocal Ensemble (auditioned women’s chamber choir); and the Aurora Chamber Choir (a mixed-voice auditioned young adult chamber choir, directed by Bortz’ husband Andrew, who is also pianist for all the choirs).

“I was about nine in 2001, when I first joined Sarona’s White Rock Children’s Choir in Grade 4,” reflected Bortz, who – as Samara Ripley – served a long apprenticeship as one of Mynhardt’s core group of young singers who toured internationally for some 15 years, as well as hosting choirs from around the world at home on the Peninsula.

“I had no idea that it would become the direction of my life – but it was obviously a good task,” she said.

“I’ve found I love teaching all the different age groups, and it just naturally started to grow. It wasn’t the plan from the start, but it’s working out well now. “

Notable in the upcoming concert, Bortz said, will be the moment all six choirs – along with special guests cellist Emily Burton and violinist Jiten Bearisto – will share the stage for Night of Silence, a reworking of the carol, Silent Night.

“We’re still trying to figure out where everybody will go for that one,” she laughed.

Putting a contemporary twist on tradition, The Luna Vocal Ensemble will be heard in Gaudete! – an exciting percussion-augmented arrangement of a sacred medieval Christmas song – and will join the Lux Children’s Choir in a modern version of I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day, which also features Grade 12 soloist Emma Verret.

Other highlights will include Crescent Youth Choir’s Twelve Days of Christmas – emphasizing comedy, with a surprise ending – the Crescent Women’s Choir’s version of Auld Lang Syne, featuring soloist Katy LaVigne, and the Angeli and Lux children’s choirs joining together to sing Rodgers & Hammerstein’s My Favourite Things, from The Sound of Music.

Bortz said she is delighted to be able to showcase all the choirs’ abilities in Sunday’s performance.

But, she added, it’s about more than singing beautiful music – it’s about shared experience.

“As well as skills and technical abilities, we’re working to create a community through singing, in which people can build relationships and connections,” she said.

Tickets ($20 pre-sale or $25 at the venue, free for children 12 and under) can be purchased at crescentchoirs.com/glow



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP say $14K in stolen phones recovered following investigation

Police say phones reportedly being sold on Facebook Marketplace

Semiahmoo First Nation declares local state of emergency

Parking lots, beach access on SFN lands closed due to COVID-19

Young Muslims offer helping hand to isolated residents throughout Lower Mainland

Neighbourhood Helper campaign aims to get help to people who can’t leave their homes

Regional parks in Delta closed for the long weekend

Boundary Bay and Deas Island parks closed ‘until further notice’ on Thursday, April 9

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

Human rights complaint over city’s Pride flag tossed out

Kari Simpson’s attempt to block Langley City’s flag raising has failed

Abbotsford prison has confirmed COVID-19 case

Pacific Regional Treatment Centre is the third prison in B.C. in one week to confirm case

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Canadian Olympian diagnosed with heart failure, possible exposure to COVID-19

Olympic soccer star Karina LeBlanc diagnosed with pleural effusion

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C. First Nations Health Authority launches virtual doctor program

Program to provide primary health care through COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read