As Christmas approaches, I start to look forward to our Christmas concert. I’m very fortunate to have a decent tenor voice and sing in a wonderful 100 voice oratorio choir, The Toronto Classical Singers.
We do three concerts a year under the direction of Jurgen Petrenko, a very talented conductor and organist. The concerts feature all the big names: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Mendellsohn etc. We sing in a lovely church in Toronto, Christ Church Deer Park, with beautiful stained glass and a nice sounding organ.
This year, our Christmas concert featured the Bach Magnificat and the Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio. The Saint-Saens is a beautiful, lyrical work that sounds very French. The Bach is very German and precise with lots of tricky choir bits.
While it is very nice to sing these pieces in front of a sell-out crowd on a Sunday afternoon, my favorite time is the full dress rehearsal on the Saturday morning. For one thing, we aren’t all in our penguin suits and tight bow ties. And, the atmosphere is much more relaxed. Jurgen spends most of his time with the Talisker Players orchestra and the soloists who are coming together for the first time and usually need the trickier changes sorted out. Occasionally, I can sneak out and take pictures of the choir, orchestra and soloists.
Here are some pictures of the dress rehearsal so you can see what goes on behind the scenes before a big concert.