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.”

Just Posted

Delta council to send ‘golden handshake’ back for public consultation, review

Although the benefit is going for review, outgoing council members will still receive the money

Delta Seniors Buses to take elderly residents to polls on election day

People 65 and older can book rides to their polling stations for Oct. 20

Delta police search for 160 missing bikes

A container of bikes was stolen from Delta on Sept. 24; now they are starting to turn up in Ontario

Death and dying the focus of Surrey group’s two events

Surrey Hospice Society hosts ‘Body, Mind, Spirit’ conference/fundraiser and its annual dove release

Change continuing theme for White Rock mayoralty candidates

Concerns over city direction voiced in Chamber and BIA-organized forums

Rick Mercer says pot is ‘excruciatingly boring’

Comedian hopes Canadians will move onto something else once marijuana is legalized

2 charged for feeding B.C. bear Tim Horton’s timbits

Court documents show that Randy Scott and Megan Hiltz have both been charged with feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set for parole bid after 25 years in prison

Bernardo’s parole hearing at the Bath Institution is expected to attract numerous observers

Feds aiming to select preferred design for $60B warships by end of month

Defence insiders say the government wants to select a design by the end of the month from among three options submitted by several of the largest defence and shipbuilding companies in the world.

A B.C. campaign to give municipalities input into marijuana advertising

Without a say, towns and cities risk Washington-State-style flood of advertising, proponent says

Defence cautions against mob justice in Calgary child neglect trial

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark of Calgary have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death

Feds eyeing options to expedite pardons for minor pot convictions

Internal discussions have focused on an application-based process for speeding up pot pardons

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to dominate North American marijuana industry

Cannabis producers claim the U.S. is “rapidly losing” its competitive advantage to Canada

Battle resumes over speculation tax on B.C. vacant homes

Opposition calls it ‘fake’ tax that is reducing housing supply

Most Read