The Cowichan Symphony Society wants to give the people in the Valley the gift of song for the Christmas season.
The society will host a free streaming production of Handel’s Messiah by the Victoria Baroque players on Dec. 17, beginning at 7 p.m., on its website and Facebook page.
Society president Dr. Peter Leckie said the CSS had a seasonal concert planned for a limited audience in Duncan up until the latest changes to the COVID-19 safety protocols that further restricted group gatherings.
“The society has been bringing live symphonic music to the Valley for 65 years so, although we had to cancel our latest live performance due to the pandemic, we are still committed to the production of live music that is available to our patrons,” Leckie said.
“With this gift of music, we hope to make the holiday season a little more joyful for people.”
Playing on the instruments of the 18th century, the Victoria Baroque players bring audiences closer to the “sound world” of the period, embracing the dance-driven rhythmic vitality, as well as the lyrical aspects and conversational aspects of baroque music.
Founded in 2011, the talented musicians in Victoria Baroque have gained an enthusiastic audience base across Vancouver Island.
Leckie said that because of the space restrictions due to the pandemic, the production of Messiah on Dec. 17 will not be a full symphony.
“It will be a combination of things, with an overture at the beginning followed by four world-class soloists who will do different parts of Messiah, ending with their rendition of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’,” he said.
“Our patrons can listen for free, and the live-streamed performance will be available on our website (cowichansymphonysociety.ca) and the Victoria Baroque website through the Christmas season.”
Leckie said musicians in the Victoria Baroque, as well as the CSS, have experienced rough financial times since the beginning of the pandemic, so there will be an opportunity for those who appreciate the production’s music to provide a donation for their talent and hard work.
He said both websites have links to CanadaHelps.org, a nation-wide website for donating and fundraising online, where people can make donations for the musicians.
“All the donations received go directly to the musicians,” Leckie said.
Leckie said the CSS is working on returning to its traditional live performances when the situation around the pandemic changes for the better.
He said the society hopes to have a production in the spring, possibly with a small audience, and another during the summer.
“We’ll have to play it by ear,” he said.
“The society wished everyone a Merry Christmas. We appreciate that we can be part of it.”