Rick Keene Music Scene -A Candlelight Christmas; A Must See Holiday Event

Christmas should be celebrated by candlelight. The Lyric Theater Singers understand that and then some.

Every year in December, musical director Bob Bachelor painlessly determines the content of a show that is based in spirituality. Combining his own arrangements with those of others – Bachelor somehow embraces the Yuletide moment like very few.

Last night at Loyola Chapel, the first evening of A Candlelight Christmas’ weekend run, Bob and The lyric theater singers had special guests. The EMSB Chorale Youth Choir joined the party in act two. The group, made up of students grades 6 through secondary 5 –  instilled a sense of hope to the crowd in a world where teenagers sometimes get a raw deal. Angels are alive in schools and not necessary on their smart phones.

Following act one where the musicianship and heavenly sounds from The Lyric Theater Singers embraced and welcomed their guests with versions of A Carol Fantasy (John Alexander), Songs of Angels (Trad. French Carol, Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, arr. Mark Hayes) and The Chanukah Song (Steve Young, Stephen Schwartz,.arr. Mac Huff) – the EMSB Chorale Youth Choir injected their own versions of heaven.

Hodie, nobis de caelo (First Book of Motets,1610) Alexandro Grandi, The Lord Bless You and Keep You(John Rutter) and Winter (Allan Gordon Bell) provided a yin to the Lyric Theater Singer’s yan. Led by the award winning conductor Patricia Abbott, the EMSB Chorale Group proved without doubt why they are one of the most in demand youth choirs not only in Montreal but in Canada and globally.

If choirs and angelic voices were not enough – the Candlelight Christmas’ backdrop is provided by astute musicality. Chad Linsley (piano) maintains the grounding of the sound. Instilling a ‘metronome’ tempo to keep everyone on track while adding delicious morsels of  colorful notes that not only entice – lure the surrounding souls into the evening. Chris Barillaro multi-tasks on  keys and percussion providing intricate sounds and rhythms when they are the most essential.

Robin Best(harp)is the bringer of ‘light’. Perhaps the most important ingredient to the Christmas and Chanukah substance as her notes reflect the season with immaculate precision.Sheila Hannigan (cello), Tim Malloch (Flute) and Carloyn Peters( Violin) not only are important factors – safe to say; A Candlelight Christmas incomplete without them.

In a world that has everyone’s head spinning, A Candlelight Christmas and Bob Bachelor’s unwavering devotion is a must – see for this Holiday season. Harmonies, solos and delightful arrangement of classics with an interjection of unfamiliar gems makes the entire evening a Christmas present for all.

A Candlelight Christmas runs through this weekend at Loyola Chapel at Concordia University.

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