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Singers take audience around the world

There were times when St. Albert Singers’ music director Criselda Mierau felt she bit off more than she could chew when planning this Saturday’s Christmas concert at the Arden Theatre.

There were times when St. Albert Singers’ music director Criselda Mierau felt she bit off more than she could chew when planning this Saturday’s Christmas concert at the Arden Theatre.

After all, there are 60 kids in the three youth choirs and in Christmas Through the Magic Mirror they were bopping from country to country.

“This is a 90-minute concert, head to toe,” says Mierau with her customary chuckle as she starts detailing the rather loose plot. In this year’s program, three children discover a magic mirror one day while playing in the park.

“They can put their hand through it. Special effects happen as they walk through the mirror in the blink of an eye. Every time they go through the mirror they see Christmas in a new country.”

The singers, ranging from kindergarten to Grade 10, will travel around the world to France, Spain, Mexico, Germany, United States, Canada and of course the mysterious and not-so-silent North Pole.

The “Littles”, from kindergarten to Grade 2, appear singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night) in German. “I was a challenge and I was worried, but they rose to the occasion. It’s a weep and I can’t imagine there will be a dry eye in the audience.”

The slightly older Children’s Choir from Grades 3 to 5 pick up the gauntlet by singing Good King Wenceslas conducted by Nicole Pantikes. “In this case Good King Wenceslas meets a Yankee and it’s sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

And in one of their other more prominent numbers, an atmosphere-drenched Huron Carol, the singers are strategically placed on stage and covered with a gauzy material that makes them appear like nebulous trees in a fog-infested forest. “Katie Demuynck will perform a Native hoop dance as if they’re under the moon.”

The oldest Youth Choir from Grades 6 to 10, dressed in kimonos, flit off to Japan in the Japanese Snow Song. All singers will perform with a white fan and at stage-side a tea ceremony will be performed. “Two kids learned an authentic fan dance and they’ll alternate between singing in Japanese.”

One of their numbers, Sleigh Bells, is guaranteed to steal the show with the introduction of Ukrainian dancers. “Its holy cow physical. I watched them doing it and it hurt my knees just looking.”

Although the wigs and costumes are pretty elaborate, Mierau has set the most poignant number of the concert for last. “Visions of Peace sums up the concert – that we are all very similar and part of humanity. It transcends boundaries and it’s what the entire concert is all about.”

Preview

Christmas Through the Magic Mirror<br />St. Albert Singers Youth Choir <br />Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.<br />Arden Theatre<br />$10 Call Jody at 451-3090 for advance tickets


Anna Borowiecki

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