The Fountainview Academy Orchestra and Singers are hoping for another miracle when they return to Vernon with their all-new Christmas musical production, O Holy Night.
Currently on tour from their home in Lillooet, the orchestra and singers’ performance will become a new DVD release in 2016, and their first stop to perform live is at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre this Sunday.
The Fountainview performers are no strangers to Vernon. Their concert in the Performing Arts Centre last fall saw the theatre filled to capacity and also featured Armstrong musicians Denis Letourneau and Susan Schaffer, both Okanagan Symphony Orchestra members, who have privately taught violin and viola at Fountainview Academy for 17 years.
“Our performance in the Vernon (Performing) Arts Centre set off a spectacular tour, late last fall,” said Fountainview music director Craig Cleveland. “We toured straight on into the major cities of Alberta and saw demands for encores at the close of every concert. It was a tour where it seemed we could do nothing wrong and we are eager to repeat that same route again this year, beginning in Vernon.”
A Christian school, Fountainview Academy is built on the philosophy that education is not complete unless it benefits each student, mentally, spiritually, socially, and physically.
“We dedicate our talents and our concerts to bringing honour and glory to Jesus of Bethlehem. But, I must say, I firmly believe in miracles. I have to when I am on the stage throughout every year with teenage talent,” said Cleveland.
Last year’s concert in Vernon was more than the average miracle – it was for real, he added.
“The coaches were delayed departing Fountainview Academy for the long trip through Vernon and on to Edmonton. Our music was just not completely concert-ready; it was very shaky in many places. So, when the kids came and our sound check time was already gone (due to a mechanical delay), I told the kids we would just have to tune and pray for a miracle,” said Cleveland.
Just as the musicians were tuning up, they found out that at least 100 audience members were still in the Performing Arts Centre’s lobby waiting to get in to see the performance.
“I called on everyone in the hall to stand and move to the centre so all empty seats could easily be found,” said Cleveland. “(The Performing Arts Centre’s) crew were busy opening all the king seats and feverishly hauling in chairs. Our kids looked up and saw all of that and it was as if the miracle started right there. From the first note to the last, it was like playing in a dream. The music lived, it moved, it was rich and full.”
In the end, Fountainview only had one encore to share, but when the crowd cried out for another, the students performed their school theme song, I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.
“When that rang out, the crowd called for more, but I had to tell them, ‘we are done!’ It was an hour I’ll never forget. We can’t wait to be back,” said Cleveland.
Fountainview Academy presents O Holy Night at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Sunday at 4 p.m. Limited free tickets are available and can be ordered online at www.fountainofmusic.ca.