As with many houses of worship in Greater Victoria, music plays a vital role during the Christmas season at Christ Church Cathedral.
Special services and concerts feature young student choristers combining with veteran soloists on ancient melodies, the Victoria premiere of a newly commissioned Canadian carol, and the Christ Church bellringers ushering in the new year.
A Monteverdi Christmas Vespers (Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.)
Part of the Pacific Baroque Series, this concert features eight internationally renowned soloists, the playing of traditional instruments such as the cornett (a medieval wind instrument), sackbut (the predecessor of the trombone) and theorbo (an oversized lute), multiple keyboards and the combined voices of 50 church choristers.
Guest music director David Fallis has selected works from Claudio Monteverdi’s 1641 collection of sacred music, and more than 50 musicians will be involved in all. Tickets ($45 general, $30 students) are available online through Ticketfly and in person at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Ivy’s and Munro’s Books and the Cathedral office on Burdett Avenue.
CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble, ‘Twas NOT the Night Before (Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.)
CapriCCio invites you to join them ‘around the hearth’ in a heart-warming Christmas special featuring Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata and Jessye Norman’s Christmastide (Jessye’s Carol). It’s music for choir and brass, a favourite tradition of Victoria audiences.
Tickets are $25, (children 12-under free when accompanied by a ticket holder, but must present an under-13 ticket). Tickets sold online must be picked up at door.
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (Dec. 23, 4:30 p.m.)
This service held just before Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus in nine short Bible readings, alternating with favourite Christmas carols, plus a new Canadian carol commissioned by the Cathedral and written by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra conductor Bramwell Tovey. Local media will join the group as celebrity readers this year. The public is welcome to attend.
Christmas Eve services happen Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. (Family Eucharist) and 10 p.m. (Solemn High Mass of the Nativity), while Christmas Day services include Holy Eucharist at 8 a.m. and Sung Eucharist at 10:30 a.m.
The Cathedral’s bellringers swing into action on New Year’s Eve, playing the church’s massive bells between 11:15 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. If you’re on your way to or home from a New Year’s Eve gathering, stop by for a listen. There’ll be a video monitor inside the front door, but you’re also invited to climb the 71 winding stairs to the bellringers’ loft to watch up close.
For more information, visit christchurchcathedral.bc.ca.