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Christoper Gaze on stage at the VSO's annual Christmas concert.

The Magic of Christmas Returns with the VSO

An original 2022 story sponsored by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

It’s easy to forget how Christmas used to make us feel. Every year, the season’s simple pleasures––decorating the tree, gathering with loved ones and savouring delicious treats together––seem to be obscured by a blur of festive chores such as shopping marathons and visits to every bauble-covered attraction in the Lower Mainland.


But it doesn’t have to be this way. This time around, consider stopping, taking a breath and swapping the frenetic pace of the holidays for a restorative “slow Christmas” approach. And the best way to do that? Gather your friends and family for A Traditional Christmas with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.


Hosted by beloved Bard on the Beach raconteur Christopher Gaze, these delightfully fun celebratory concerts have been warming the Christmas cockles of in-the-know locals for more than 25 years. Spreading a marzipan-rich layer of holiday cheer throughout the region, the show’s 2022 program reads like a greatest hits album of cherished seasonal music, songs and stories.


Conducted by David Bui, the orchestra is joined this year by renowned soprano Rachel Buttress and brilliant bass-baritone Odyn Mulder. There will be spine-tingling renditions of classics such as Sleigh Ride by Delius, Fantasia on Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams and the charming Waltz of the Flowers from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.


In addition, the 2022 concerts––running between December 7 and December 17 at four different venues––will feature soaring performances of all-time favourites such as O Holy Night, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and, of course, Silent Night. Younger Yuletide fans will also enjoy this year’s inclusion of music from the ever-popular Disney movie Frozen.


And while you might not personally have the vocal skills for the show’s spirited rendition of Rejoice from Handel’s Messiah, most audience members love leaping up for the Christmas carol sing-a-long that arrives towards the end of each concert. If you want to practice beforehand, the carols this time around are O Come, All Ye Faithful and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.


Gaze––who, with some padding and a fluffy white beard, would make an excellent Father Christmas––is a huge reason why these concerts are a treasured tradition for generations of locals. A warm, twinkle-eyed master of ceremonies, his mellifluous tones are perfect for interacting with audiences, introducing nostalgic tunes and narrating stories that will have you remembering exactly what the festive season is all about.


Keen to don your sparkliest seasonal sweater and join Gaze and the VSO this holiday season? The 2022 edition of A Traditional Christmas is at New Westminster’s Massey Theatre (December 7); North Vancouver’s Centennial Theatre (two shows on December 9); Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre (two shows on December 10); and downtown Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre (four shows on December 16 and December 17). For more information and to book your tickets, visit the concert’s official webpage or click on the advert above.

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