Chor Leoni

Presented by

  • December 16, 2022 | 8pm
  • December 17, 2022 | 2pm, 5pm, & 8pm
  • December 19, 2022 | 5pm, & 8pm
  • St. Andrew’s-Wesley United

Christmas With Chor Leoni


There’s no holiday offering quite like Christmas with Chor Leoni. In an exciting program featuring old favourites, tender carols, and five world premieres, Chor Leoni sings in the holiday season accompanied by guest fiddler Cameron Wilson and Vivian Chen on harp. The stunning lights, space, and sound at St. Andrew’s Wesley United make for the perfect venue to gather and share in this evening of beauty, warmth, humour and hope.

Section A $50 | Section B $35 | Section C $30 | Section D $20
35 and Under Ticket Pricing Available.

  • December 16, 2022 | 8pm
  • December 17, 2022 | 2pm, 5pm, & 8pm
  • December 19, 2022 | 5pm, & 8pm
  • St. Andrew’s-Wesley United

Christmas With Chor Leoni

Step out of the winter darkness and into the warm glow of this joyful and beloved Yuletide tradition. Let the soaring voices of Chor Leoni fill your heart with light, warmth, and the magic of the season.

  • Vivian Chen, harp

    Born in Taiwan, Vivian Chen first encountered the harp on a family trip to Vancouver, a city which later became her home. Vivian is a student of Heidi Krutzen. She graduated first place from the UBC School of Music, and later completed her Master of Music in Harp Performance degree with full scholarship. Passionate about creating with others, Vivian plays a variety of musical genres with different ensembles, including the Vancouver Opera, Elektra Women’s Choir, and her own chamber group - the Elysian Trio. Recently, she was proud to bring Canadian Music back to Taiwan, and performed Caroline Lizotte's "Suite Galactique for solo harp" in one of Taiwan's best performing halls, the Taiwan National Theater. Vivian also performed both solo and chamber pieces in the Formosa New Wave concert at the 13th World Harp Congress in Hong Kong.

  • Tina Chang, piano

    Described as a "scintillating player" (Opera Wire) whose "...pianism was a wonder," (Opera Canada), pianist and coach Tina Chang is currently on the music staff at Vancouver Opera, and recently at Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland. Based in Vancouver, she has been involved with various arts organizations, including Arts Club Theatre, Chor Leoni, Sound the Alarm Music Theatre, City Opera, and Against the Grain Theatre. She holds her own private studio, and has held adjunct positions at University of British Columbia and Dalhousie University. Find out more about Tina at www.TinaChangPiano.ca.

  • Cameron Wilson, violin

    Violinist Cameron Wilson has been a fixture on the Vancouver music scene for the past three decades. He is recognized as one of the most versatile violinists, able to play a wide variety of different musical genres. He currently performs with Joe Trio as well as the gypsy jazz quartet, Van Django, The Wahs, Hard Rubber Orchestra, Mariachi del Soul, and the Marc Atkinson Quartet.

  • Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair has been making music for over 20 years. He is primarily a guitar player and vocalist and has performed as a solo artist and as a sideman with a wide range of local and international artists. His time singing with Chor Leoni has nurtured his love of arranging and his music is now sung by choirs around the world. "A few years back, I had the pleasure of being asked to create a simple and fun arrangement of Jingle Bells for the choir. Something that could, at the time, accommodate some dance moves and be a quick learn for the choir and something that could serve as a fun and memorable moment in the show. Another main priority was for it to feature our wonderful guest musicians! So keep your ears open for some fun little quotes of other great holiday tunes!"

  • Melissa Dunphy

    When VOCES8 approached me in 2020 to compose “Halcyon Days” for their upcoming holiday concert, I jumped at the chance to write for an ensemble that I had long admired. However, I soon found myself facing a challenge: how do we celebrate the holidays in a time of worldwide tribulation and isolation? Philadelphia poet Jacqueline Goldfinger and I took thematic inspiration from one of my favorite holiday songs, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”—not the commercial version, but the original from the musical Meet Me in St. Louis, which gives heartbreaking comfort in the midst of dashed hopes and separation from loved ones. When Chor Leoni asked me for an arrangement of “Halcyon Days,” I was just as thrilled—this version makes use of their sensitive massed voices and warm sound, in the new key of C major which always sparks associations of comfort, warmth and home for me (probably because my primary instrument is the viola!)

  • Nancy Grundahl

    When programming music for holiday concerts, songs other than Christian carols can provide rich diversity. S’vivon offers a catchy melody in a minor key with a harmonic structure that welcomes the use of ostinatos! Written originally for a treble choir, I re-voiced it and am eager to hear it sung by the men of Chor Leoni! Erick asked me to write a klezmer-like violin part to add another colorful dimension, and the piano part suggests the spinning of the dreidel as Jews celebrate and remember the miracle of Hannukah.

  • Saunder Choi

    This arrangement is based off of Mairi Campbell's version that was featured in the iconic first Sex and the City movie.

  • Nicholas Ryan Kelly

    "Cold Moon" explores the alienation many of us feel amid the culture of overstimulation, overconsumption, and forced merriment that surrounds the holidays. Through this exploration, it finds solace amid the more introspective aspects of the season--the long, quiet nights and the sense of renewal that can come with the new year if we let ourselves rest. The music brings out this transformation in many different ways, but the quotation from the well-known "Carol of the Bells" is particularly important. I always found this carol interesting because its minor key, extreme repetitiveness, and similarity to the "Dies Irae" chant seem at odds with its message of hope and joy. So in the first half of "Cold Moon", I thought it would be a perfect way to evoke the sense of frenzied-but-hollow drudgery a lot of us feel during the holidays. But as the composition progresses, it's gradually integrated into the musical whole, fading harmoniously into the background of something more intricate and personal: an all-encompassing kind of merriment that accepts the melancholy along with the joy.

  • Dan Forrest

    To be honest, O Little Town hasn’t always been my favorite carol; as a boy I always winced at the chromatic notes in the opening phrase! But I set myself a challenge of arranging it in such a way that I (and others like me?) might like hearing it. I settled on a gentle jazz idiom, with two new themes in the accompaniment - one that feels “ancient” to me, invoking the feeling of moving way back in time to a scene 2000 years ago; and another that feels earthy and close and warm, reflecting the comfort and joy and light that were being born in those dark streets. After visiting modern day Bethlehem last month, this setting evokes all the more vivid imagery for me when I hear it; the darkness is still real for the many Palestinian Christians who live under persecution in the West Bank. For them, and for all of us, the hopes and fears of all the years- of all time- were met in those dark streets that night.

  • Don Macdonald

    A Fantasy of Carols is a meditation and celebration that explores traditional Christmas favourites such as Ding Dong Merrily on High, What Child is This?, O Holy Night, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and O Come All Ye Faithful. Three fantasy sections feature carols that overlap in a rich tapestry and these sections are followed by a focus on one or two carols that eventually build to a jubilant climax. Audiences will have to listen closely to catch these carols as they weave in and out of non-traditional musical settings. The rare combination of choir, harp, piano, and violin allows for many subtle variations of tone colour that enhance this dreamlike yet festive mood.

  • Zachary Wadsworth

    This piece, Two Counting Carols, is a boisterous, rhythmic romp for men’s chorus and instrumental ensemble. It emerged after Erick Lichte, director of Chor Leoni, exposed me to two lesser-known (but still enormously catchy) traditional carols: “The Twelve Apostles” and “The Seven Joys of Mary.” The former is similar in structure to “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with each verse growing cumulatively longer as the singers develop a twelve-item list. The latter, though not cumulative in structure, still involves counting, with each verse listing one of Mary’s seven “joys.” I’ve set the first carol in a more delicate style, featuring the bright, clear tones of the piano, harp, and pitched percussion, while the second carol is more angular and extroverted, emphasizing the strummed guitar, low piano, and drums.

  • Craig Courtney

    The Advent hymn, People, Look East, first appeared in The Oxford Book of Carols in 1928. The lively, traditional French carol, BESANCON, which earlier appeared with the anonymous text, "Shepherds, shake off your drowsy sleep," offers a festive musical setting of this wonderful Advent text by Eleanor Farjeon. In setting this carol for choir and 4-hand piano, my goal was to enhance the festivity by employing the air of an Irish jig. As I worked with the lyrics, I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the Infant Jesus is referred to as "Love", "Guest," "Rose," "Star" and "Lord."

Concert Program

  • World Premiere

    To This Bleak Midwinter

    arr. Erick Lichte

  • World Premiere

    Good Ol' King Wenceslas

    arr. Cameron Wilson

  • People, Look East

    arr. Craig Courtney

  • World Premiere

    A Fantasy of Carols

    Don Macdonald

  • O Little Town of Bethlehem

    arr. Dan Forrest

  • World Premiere

    Cold Moon

    Nicholas Ryan Kelly

  • World Premiere

    Auld Lang Syne

    Saunder Choi

  • World Premiere

    Halcyon Days

    Melissa Dunphy

  • World Premiere


    arr. Nancy Grundahl

  • Two Counting Carols

    arr. Zachary Wadsworth

  • Jingle Bells

    arr. Keith Sinclair

  • Silent Night