The ground was covered with snow and the Christmas lights were glowing as I came to the Community Concert at Cleland Theatre on Nov. 5.
The British Columbia Boys Choir and Tenor Ken Lavine were performing a seasonal program titled Comfort and Joy.
It was heart-warming to see the 33 youth take file onto the stage. They looked festive in their black suits, white shirts and bow ties, and they sang heavenly. Originating from diverse ethnic backgrounds the young singers from Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island impressed with their discipline and talent.
The artistic director, Tony Araujo, conducted efficiently: the lyrics were easy to understand, the dynamics ranged from delicate pianissimo to roaring forte and all heads bowed together with a wave of the conductor’s hand at the end of songs.
Tenor Ken Lavine struck a handsome figure as he introduced his titles with humorous anecdotes. His stage presence was relaxed and easy going, and so was his voice. Ken Lavine’s renditions of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and the carol O Holy Night were soulful. In Because We Believe powerful long held notes were rewarded with much applause. Ken Lavine impersonated Elvis in Blue Christmas, charming the ladies with a shiny, silver jacket. Accompanist Patricia Plumley mastered the intricate piano passages with a smile. Ken Lavine also performed with the choir in Christmas Time and the angelic Mille Cherubini in Coro.
There were reflective moments in Prayer of the Children and jolly moments in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Unaccompanied compositions, songs with percussion and piano parts, unison and rich harmonics gave the program a wide variety. In a carol sing-along the audience had a chance to join in too. The concert ended with the peaceful classic Silent Night in which the boys held candles in their palms.
As the people left the hall the choir boys shook their hands and chatted. Their faces lit up at the compliments from an appreciative audience.
Roswitha Masson is a concert reviewer living in Penticton.