Baroque musicians join vocal soloists and the Christ Church Cathedral choir in concert last December. A similar group will perform Festive Cantatas: Christmas in Gabrieli’s Venice, at the cathedral on Thursday, Dec. 19. Photo courtesy

Christmas is the season of music at Christ Church Cathedral

Baroque music makes a triumphant return to Victoria’s Anglican cathedral

Music is an integral part of the celebration of Christmas at Christ Church Cathedral, from fine choral performances to period music performances.

This season is no different, as a variety of concerts and special services feature the voices of the young and young at heart singing ancient melodies and some new Canadian carols commissioned by the Cathedral for a new CD.

Here’s a brief listing of some of the public events happening in the coming days and weeks:

Thursday, Dec. 19 (7:30 p.m.)

Pacific Baroque Series Festive Cantatas: Christmas in Gabrieli’s Venice – Eight premier soloists join the Cathedral choristers, accompanied by musicians playing such traditional instruments as cornetto, sackbut, lute and baroque strings. Together they’ll recreate the early baroque splendour of Christmas music written by Giovanni Gabrieli from St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, circa 1615. Featuring internationally renowned cornetto player and teacher Bruce Dickey. Tickets, $45, are available online at or at the cathedral office.

Sunday, Dec. 22 (4:30 p.m.)

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols –This service just before Christmas includes nine short Bible readings alternating with Christmas carols (some Canadian ones from our new CD). Readers this year include Times Colonist columnist Jack Knox and CBC Radio host Gregor Craigie. Everyone welcome.

Monday, Dec. 23 (7:30 p.m.)

The Night Before the Night Before, CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble – CapriCCio joins the Victoria Brass for a heartwarming Christmas special featuring traditional and contemporary music. This favourite tradition for local audiences is family oriented, with children 12-under admitted free with a ticket holder. Tickets, $25, are available at or at the Cathedral office.

Sunday, Dec. 29 (2.30 p.m.)

Messiaen’s La Nativité du Seigneur – French organist and composer Olivier Messiaen wrote his landmark piece in 1935, and it is a thoroughly modernist take on the Christmas story. His shepherds play pipes, his angels dance playfully, and his depiction of the arrival of the Word of God (“Dieu parmi nous”) is quite simply earth shattering. Cathedral Director of Music, Donald Hunt, plays the mighty Wolff organ. Admission is by donation.

Tuesday, Dec. 31 (11:15 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.)

Ringing in the new year – As you’re travelling to or from a New Year’s Eve gathering, why not stop and listen to and watch the Cathedral bellringing team perform this old ritual. Not keen on climbing the 71 winding stairs up to the bell ringers’ loft? The procedure will be screened live on a large monitor inside the front door.

For more information on events at the church, visit

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