COVID-19 isn’t stopping the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular from spreading some holiday cheer this season.
Although the annual music and dance production has been cancelled for the first time in its 14-year history, some past performers have come together online as a socially distanced choir to offer their thanks and well-wishes with a rendition of the Christmas carol O Holy Night.
Katy Bowen-Roberts, Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular producer and director, said she and her team made the decision to cancel the show back in May, and since then they’ve been thinking of a way to give thanks to their supportive audience. They decided on an original a cappella arrangement of O Holy Night, with Christmas spectacular alumni recording their parts at home to be edited into a single video.
“I actually e-mailed every singer that’s ever been in the show and asked if some of them had time,” Bowen-Roberts said. “And some aren’t even singing anymore – it’s been 14 years – some are doing much bigger productions, but everyone’s kind of sitting at home.”
The 15-member ensemble includes singers from throughout the production’s history, from members of last year’s show to Shae Apland, a Nanaimo baritone who was in the very first Christmas spectacular and was an elementary school classmate of Bowen-Roberts. She said it’s been nice to reconnect.
“It was really neat to hear from a few people who we haven’t heard from in a long time but I found with the show, since the beginning, that it’s often a bit of a starting place for performers,” Bowen-Roberts said. “I have performers who’ve gone on to Broadway, who’ve sung in Toronto, I have a dancer who’s been in Cirque du Soleil, I have a dancer who’s performing on the West End in London, so pretty amazing places that people have gone and every one of them is out of work right now.”
Bowen-Roberts said all her performers were happy to hear from her and that the holiday season continues to evoke fond memories from their time with the company. She said each year “a really lovely community is built” in the weeks leading up to the Christmas spectacular.
“It’s an intense rehearsal process. It’s super challenging for them all and I feel like they really discover themselves through the process,” she said. “And for the young ones that are just starting out in their careers, I know that many of them told me it propelled them forward to get work and to get themselves out there … and so many have done amazing things. I absolutely find it rewarding.”
The video can be viewed here.