The fledgling ensemble will bring the music to Fleetwood Christian Reformed Church on Dec. 1 in a pre-Christmas concert also featuring the KPU Chorus.
The following Saturday (Dec. 8), Surrey City Orchestra will join Vancouver Bach Choir for another performance of Messiah, this time at Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre.
The SCO, conducted by Stuart Martin, will welcome soloists Alison Nystrom, Katie Miller, Christopher Simmons and Daniel Theilmann for the 7:30 p.m. concert on Dec. 1 in Fleetwood, at 9165 160th St., Surrey. Tickets ($25) can be purchased online at surreycityorch.brownpapertickets.com.
In the works for a couple of years, Surrey City Orchestra debuted last spring at a SFU Surrey-hosted gala, followed by a performance with Grammy winner Ricky Kej at Surrey Fusion Festival in July. In September, a concert at Surrey Arts Centre also showcased the new orchestra.
While the SCO is just starting out, Vancouver Bach Choir has been around for 88 years and has often performed Messiah, yet the concert at Bell Performing Arts Centre is a first for the choir.
In Surrey, the VBC will be joined by celebrated local soloists and Surrey City Orchestra “to bring to life this time honoured and celebrated musical masterpiece – capped off by the iconic ‘Hallelujah’ chorus,” according to an event announcement.
The soloists on Dec. 8 include Surrey-based soprano Elaina Moreau, who’ll perform alongside counter-tenor Shane Hanson, tenor Martin Renner Wallace and bass-baritone Tyler Simpson.
The concert will be a special one for Moreau.
“This is my first Messiah,” she told the Now-Leader in a phone interview, “and I’m very excited to be singing it with Vancouver Bach Choir. It’s been such a tradition for them – something like 90 years they’ve been doing it. This is the first time I get to be part of it, and I’m excited.
“I also get to go up to Prince George and sing it there a week later, which is wonderful because I have family there as well,” Moreau added.
Born in Vancouver and raised in the Okanagan Valley, Moreau now lives with her family in the Elgin area of South Surrey.
Growing up, Moreau could often be found listening to CBC Radio’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with her parents.
“The first time I saw a performance (of Messiah), I was around five years old, in Kelowna, where I lived with my family at the time,” Moreau recalled. “I loved it, but I was very confused by the first tenor aria which is ‘Every Valley Shall be Exalted’ – and being five years old, I misunderstood and heard, ‘Everybody Shall be Exhausted,’ and I really couldn’t understand why everyone was going to be so tired.
“But even at five years old,” she continued, “I was totally hooked and just loved it. It’s a huge tradition and such an honour to be part of. And even at Vancouver Opera’s young artists program, we had to write down some goals and one of mine was to learn the (solos) for the Messiah, because it’s kind of a bucket-list item for me, it’s something I’ve been coveting for a very long time. And then I got the offer in May, I think it was, and it’s just very exciting to finally get to fulfill that.”
Vancouver Bach Choir is led by music director Leslie Dala.
“In the lengthy history of the Vancouver Bach Choir, no single work has been more performed – or more well-loved – than Handel’s Messiah,” Dala said in a release. “This masterpiece is the very embodiment of holiday spirit; sharing the story of Christ’s life and death through joyful, profound music that transcends time and faith – touching the hearts of all who hear it.”