AURA celebrates the season

Vernon-based Aura Chamber Choir has a few special presentations to ‘Wolcum Yole!’ to the Christmas season.

Members of Vernon’s AURA Chamber Choir prepare for upcoming concerts.

Members of Vernon’s AURA Chamber Choir prepare for upcoming concerts.

The AURA Chamber Choir is celebrating the yuletide season with two concerts –– one traditional and one where audiences will be able to participate.

The first, Wolcum Yole, roughly meaning “welcome, Christmas season” in Olde English, takes place next weekend at All Saints Anglican Church.

The choir will start the concert with Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and end it with  Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, both conducted by Imant Raminsh, longtime leader and founder of AURA.

“The reason for the title is Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, which was originally written for treble voices and then reworked for mixed voices. It’s a series of old English carols, with the first carol called Wolcum Yole,” he said.

In between, Terry Logan, AURA’s assistant director, will lead choruses from Handel’s Messiah and two other a cappella works, including an Ave Maria by Eleanor Daley and O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen.

“It’s a light program. There’s nothing long and tedious about it. It’s very inspiring and melodic,” said Raminsh.

On Dec. 9, also at All Saints Anglican Church, AURA will present a sing-along to Messiah.

“AURA has performed Messiah with the Okanagan Symphony but has never done a sing-along before,” said Raminsh, adding, “We will have a core choir that will be expanded with members of Counterpoint along with other experienced choral singers and emerging young soloists.”

The concert will not be a full-scale production, but features highlights from Messiah. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own scores along, and the choir will also provide some.

“We feel many have sung parts of the Messiah, such as the Hallelujah Chorus, before,” said Raminsh. “In most sing-alongs, part of the choir is up at the front, but often choir members are sprinkled around the audience so it’s not just a few in the audience singing. The sound comes from all around you. This is Terry idea’s and she is seeing the vision through.”

Both programs will feature accompanist Marjorie Close.

AURA first takes the stage at All Saints Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 and Saturday, Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets  are $18, available at the Bean Scene Coffee House, from choir members, or at the door. Students are free. Call 250-503-1927 or 250-542-5603 for information.

Handel’s Messiah: Celebrate the Christmas Season Come Sing-Along with the AURA Chamber  Choir  takes place Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. at All Saints Anglican Church. Tickets are $18 at the Bean Scene, from choir members, or at the door. Students are free. Call 250-542-8118 for info.