Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Winter Harp and the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir

This December Winter Harp once again had the honor of performing with the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir. What an amazing concert that was.

It was such a thrill for us to be seated with our instruments right in front of 90 men singing their hearts out. These guys have so much enthusiasm, that Massey Theatre was bursting at the seams with their joy. When these guys sing -- and you are sitting 2 feet away, as we were, -- it’s the most incredible sound experience -- this wall of thundering male voices enfolding and enrapturing.

The choir conductor, Jonathan Quick, is brilliant, as is their pianist David Buchan. Both are wonderful to work with.

Massey Theatre in New Westminster was so full that extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the crowd. The theatre was one of the best venues Winter Harp has played in this season -- and the Royal City should be proud to have such a place.

Eleven year-old Sarah Quinn performs here
with harpists Lori Pappajohn and Janelle Nadeau in the song Away in a

A highlight of the evening was 11 year-old Sarah Quinn of New Westminster who sang a Polish lullaby with the choir. The story of this lullaby is as follows: In December 1939, 5,000 prisoners, most of them Polish, were marched by their Russian captors through the Siberian winter to labor camps. They walked 800 miles handcuffed to chains attached to trucks.
Somehow someone learned during the second week of the march that it was Christmas Eve. A prisoner started singing Holy Night. One after another, the prisoners joined in the song, the volume and intensity sweeping up the line of men. Then a few voices started the Polish carol Jesus’ Lullaby. But the bittersweet memories of Christmases past -- of family and friends -- seized the men. They broke down weeping. The singing stopped and the march along the cold, frozen road continued in a heartbreaking silence.

When little Sarah Quinn sang this song, along with the choir, harps, flute and violin, there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

We truly enjoyed our evening with the Welsh Men’s Choir -- and we hope to perform again with them next Christmas.

Sarah Quinn receives flowers after her stunning performance with Winter Harp and the Vancouver Welsh Men'sChoir.

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