Christopher Gaze with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in a 2013 promo video for the VSO’s “A Traditional Christmas” concerts.

Christopher Gaze with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in a 2013 promo video for the VSO’s “A Traditional Christmas” concerts.

Surrey dates for VSO’s 25th year of ‘A Traditional Christmas’ concerts

Two performances at Bell theatre Dec. 16 as part of regional tour

SURREY — A pair of concerts at Bell Performing Arts Centre will help celebrate the 25th anniversary of a Christmas tradition in Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s “A Traditional Christmas” concert tour again rolls through the region, starting Friday, Dec. 8 at Vancouver’s St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church and concluding Sunday, Dec. 17 at Burnaby’s Michael J. Fox Theatre.

As always, the tour includes two performances in Surrey — this year on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Sullivan Heights Secondary theatre, at 4 p.m. and again at 7:30.

The concerts give audiences a chance to “kick off your holiday season on the perfect note,” according to a post at vancouversymphony.ca.

Some Christmas classics are performed, of course (“O Holy Night,” “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Ave Maria” and more are planned this year), along with audience sing-along favourites (including “Once in Royal David’s City,” “Silent Night,” and “Angels We Have Heard On High”).

This year’s tour features the return of Christopher Gaze as host, along with conductor William Rowson, the EnChoir choir conducted by Gerald van Wyck, and director Nancy Hermiston’s UBC Opera Ensemble.

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO, FROM 2013)

In Surrey, the VSO’s Christmas-month tradition began in 1998 at the Chandos Pattison Auditorium in the Fraser Heights area, and, four years later, carried on at the Bell Performing Arts Centre at Sullivan Heights.

Gaze, the man behind the hugely successful Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival in Vancouver, has been the voice of the concerts, as host, for more than two decades.

His relationship with the VSO began in 1993 when the orchestra was hired to perform on the festival’s summer stage. In return, the orchestra hired Gaze for concerts during the pre-Christmas season.

“I write the stories, or find them from other sources, and link them all together,” he told the Now in 2008. I include everything you would consider to be Christmas, in spoken words. Sometimes I’ll get emails from people who have a beautiful Christmas story — something from when they were young, whatever — and I tell those stories, too. If I like it, we’ll include it.”

Before coming to Canada in the mid-1970s, Gaze grew up in the Surrey area of England and went to a boarding school in Sussex.

“My sense of Christmas tradition, my joy of this season, comes from that school, where I was always a choirboy, so I was always very much part of the celebration of Christmas, with music,” he added.

“They didn’t do Dickens or Dylan Thomas or anything like that, of course, but there was always a sense of beauty and wonder of it all. That’s what I really like to engender — and, of course, fun.”

VSO conductor Rowson grew up in musical family, starting the violin at age three in his hometown of Saskatoon. In 2014, Rowson debuted as a film composer at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with his score to the feature-length film Big Muddy.

“(He) is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of Canada’s most versatile emerging talents,” the orchestra’s website states. “Known for his intimate knowledge of the standard repertoire as well as his facile handling of new repertoire, Rowson recently won the position of Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.”

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

Just Posted

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

Peter and Stephanie Chung. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey philanthropists presenting $285K in scholarships on Saturday

Drs. Peter and Stephanie Chung over the past nine years have awarded more than 500 students, in memory of their son Joseph

North Surrey Minor Football players in action. The club is among Surrey-area recipients of the B.C. government’s Local Sport Relief Fund. (File photo)
COVID ‘relief’ funding for some sports groups in Surrey, White Rock, Delta

‘Without financial support, these clubs are at risk of closure,’ says B.C. government

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read