SURREY — Music, the poets say, is the staff of life. It feeds the soul and touches the heart. Music has so many faces, from the complex baroque to the simple folk song. It is difficult, if not impossible, to pass a day without hearing music. Do you have a special song?
Entries are now encouraged for “Sing Me A Song,” the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s community music contest. This is the third season of this music program, which aims to promote community spirit throughout the province. Musical groups of all ages and genres are invited to write and sing an original song in the lead-up to Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2017. Groups are encouraged to write a song about what Canada’s sesquicentennial means to them or their community. Sesquicentennial. Wow, that’s a new word for me. Try working that into song lyrics – I don’t think so.
School and community choirs and other amateur musical groups can apply. The song must be original, no longer than five minutes and based on “Canada 150” themes. For younger age groups, adults may assist in the creation of the musical content. Musicality, spirit and originality are highly encouraged. For more information and to enter, visit Ltgov.bc.ca (look under “Sing Me a Song”). Entries for the competition are due by March 31, 2016. There is an award of $1,000 in each of three age categories.
Surrey has many musical groups that qualify for this competition – and they have the talent. How about the Young Peoples’ Opera Society (who have already written two original operas) and the Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society? The Surrey Symphony Society is also chock-a-block full of fine young musicians, and let’s not overlook the BC Girls’ Choir either.
Want proof of our excellent musicians? The Surrey Symphony Society celebrates the holidays with “Sounds of the Season,” its annual Christmas concert featuring performances by more than 100 young musicians. The Junior Strings, Intermediate Orchestra and Youth Orchestra groups have been rehearsing their hearts out for this concert, set for 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at Chandos Pattison Auditorium, 10238 168th St., Surrey. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and alumni. For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase at the door (cash, cheque or credit card). The quality of the music will astound you.
Celebrating 40 years of providing opportunities for young musicians, Surrey Symphony Society offers musical training for youth (age seven to 20) with some of Canada’s most exceptional professional musicians. Students from across the Lower Mainland partake in orchestra rehearsals, chamber music programs and public performances throughout the school year. I think there is a song or two amongst that group.
The BC Girls’ Choir, under the direction of Fiona Blackburn, is performing an outreach concert for the Shelter to Home project on Dec. 5, 3 p.m. start at the Highlands United Church, 3255 Edgemont Blvd., North Vancouver. Yes, I know that is not Surrey, but many of the 100 voices are from this area. Entrance is by donation. And don’t you just admire young people who dedicate a concert of music to help others in need? Special guests for this concert will be the Winter Song Honour Choir, which consists of girls from the North Shore who have been nominated by their school music teachers. Nothing like a song to build better communities.
Peninsula Productions has done its fair share of promoting and presenting performances by musicians. Vancouver Bach Choir’s “Sing-Along Messiah” has been so popular, the concert is moving to a larger location this year. It’s on Saturday, Dec. 5 at White Rock Baptist Church, 1657 140th St., Surrey. For Tickets and info, go to Peninsulaproductions.org.
So we are surrounded by music. It truly is a fabric of our lives. Let’s flood the Governor General’s song competition. Canada has a new face, 150 years on, and a new voice. Write a song. We know the music is here.