Christopher Gaze with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in a 2013 promo video for the VSO’s “A Traditional Christmas” concerts.

Christopher Gaze with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in a 2013 promo video for the VSO’s “A Traditional Christmas” concerts.

Surrey dates for VSO’s 25th year of ‘A Traditional Christmas’ concerts

Two performances at Bell theatre Dec. 16 as part of regional tour

SURREY — A pair of concerts at Bell Performing Arts Centre will help celebrate the 25th anniversary of a Christmas tradition in Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s “A Traditional Christmas” concert tour again rolls through the region, starting Friday, Dec. 8 at Vancouver’s St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church and concluding Sunday, Dec. 17 at Burnaby’s Michael J. Fox Theatre.

As always, the tour includes two performances in Surrey — this year on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Sullivan Heights Secondary theatre, at 4 p.m. and again at 7:30.

The concerts give audiences a chance to “kick off your holiday season on the perfect note,” according to a post at vancouversymphony.ca.

Some Christmas classics are performed, of course (“O Holy Night,” “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Ave Maria” and more are planned this year), along with audience sing-along favourites (including “Once in Royal David’s City,” “Silent Night,” and “Angels We Have Heard On High”).

This year’s tour features the return of Christopher Gaze as host, along with conductor William Rowson, the EnChoir choir conducted by Gerald van Wyck, and director Nancy Hermiston’s UBC Opera Ensemble.

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO, FROM 2013)

In Surrey, the VSO’s Christmas-month tradition began in 1998 at the Chandos Pattison Auditorium in the Fraser Heights area, and, four years later, carried on at the Bell Performing Arts Centre at Sullivan Heights.

Gaze, the man behind the hugely successful Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival in Vancouver, has been the voice of the concerts, as host, for more than two decades.

His relationship with the VSO began in 1993 when the orchestra was hired to perform on the festival’s summer stage. In return, the orchestra hired Gaze for concerts during the pre-Christmas season.

“I write the stories, or find them from other sources, and link them all together,” he told the Now in 2008. I include everything you would consider to be Christmas, in spoken words. Sometimes I’ll get emails from people who have a beautiful Christmas story — something from when they were young, whatever — and I tell those stories, too. If I like it, we’ll include it.”

Before coming to Canada in the mid-1970s, Gaze grew up in the Surrey area of England and went to a boarding school in Sussex.

“My sense of Christmas tradition, my joy of this season, comes from that school, where I was always a choirboy, so I was always very much part of the celebration of Christmas, with music,” he added.

“They didn’t do Dickens or Dylan Thomas or anything like that, of course, but there was always a sense of beauty and wonder of it all. That’s what I really like to engender — and, of course, fun.”

VSO conductor Rowson grew up in musical family, starting the violin at age three in his hometown of Saskatoon. In 2014, Rowson debuted as a film composer at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with his score to the feature-length film Big Muddy.

“(He) is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of Canada’s most versatile emerging talents,” the orchestra’s website states. “Known for his intimate knowledge of the standard repertoire as well as his facile handling of new repertoire, Rowson recently won the position of Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

16500-block of 24 Avenue. (Google image)
Council pushes forward applications for 400-plus dwellings in South Surrey

Loss of trees, pressure on schools cited by public, council members as areas of concern

Protestors at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds show their support for farmers in India Dec. 5, 2020. Hundreds gathered at the fairgrounds before driving in a convoy to the Indian consulate in Vancouver to protest three new laws they say will negatively impact farmers in India. (Photo: Jason Sveinson)
Protest in support of Indian farmers planned for Cloverdale

Surrey Challo event described as ‘a cultural awakening & lively protest’

The Anti-Racist Coalition Vancouver started a petition calling on B.C.’s education officials to make Black Shirt Day official. The inaugural event in solidarity with Black and racialized Canadians takes place on Friday, Jan. 15. (Screenshot/Change.org)
Surrey students, staff to take part in first-ever Black Shirt Day

Special day in ‘recognition of the struggle for civil rights fought by Black and racialized Canadians’

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey, Langley twin brothers who own companies together battle in court

Presiding judge described Surrey resident Kerry Hawley and Langley resident Kelly Petersen as ‘self-made successes’

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (File photo)
Peace Arch Hospital staff did not jump COVID-19 vaccine queue: Fraser Health

Director who received leftover dose defined as ‘priority staff’ member

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Lower Mainland school

Mother says daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

Most Read