Markham’s community choir, Village Voices, will be celebrating a special milestone – their 30th anniversary – with a Christmas concert called Rejoice!
Two performances on Dec. 8 will include old and new holiday favourites, and will take place at Markham Missionary Church.
Founded in 1989, Village Voices is a non-profit group comprised of adult volunteer singers, who, as a group, perform in the Markham community and surrounding area. Every year public performances are given in the winter and spring.
Its 65 members are lead by music director Oksana Vignan, a conductor, pianist, vocal coach and educator. She holds a master’s degree in piano and choral conducting.
“The goal is to bring an interesting program to our listeners and try to select something new and something old,” says Vignan of anniversay concert. “There will be songs that audiences won’t be familiar with, but also something they could relate to.”
The challenge, she says, is to ensure variety and “something that will execute well and bring the songs to life.”
Deb Young, choir membership coordinator, sings soprano and has been with the group for five years.
“They are challenging pieces, but beautiful,” she says. “The harmony is just incredible with the pieces that Oksana chooses.”
The repertoire includes Alleluia by Randall Thompson, Ave Maria, a unique arrangement of the First Noel, A Maiden Most Gentle, The Twelve Days of Christmas and Come Colours Rise (a South African Christmas song).
A new chamber section, consisting of 20 experienced singers, will perform four songs. Joan Andrews will conduct the afternoon performance; Vignan in the evening performance.
The group has been busy rehearsing since September. Robert Graham, their accompanist, is a Toronto-based Canadian/Australian pianist, singer and songwriter.
“(The choir consists of people) that can’t read music but just love to sing, all the way to years of professional training,” says Young. “(This year, the choir gained) quite a few new members, mostly men, which is very unusual.” As a result, the collective now has a very strong bass and tenor section this year.
The group will be singing the week prior to the major concert at Parkview Home, a retirement residence.
“We enjoy singing there,” said Young. “They are a lovely audience. We sing part of our concert for them and, then, have an old fashioned sing-along. It is during the sing-along that we see their faces light up with enjoyment when they can sing as well.”
The most exciting part of being in the choir is “singing with other people,” she explains. “There’s something about singing with a group of other devoted people that has chemistry. It changes you when you’re singing.”
IF YOU GO
Markham Missionary Church
5438 Major Mackenzie Dr. East, at McCowan
Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10-$25, under 12 free, available at the door or from a choir member