There is no question that the pandemic has changed the way the December traditional festivities are celebrated. However, the intention to express joy and—especially given the current circumstances—hope, remains intact. This year, festivals, movies, and plays have resorted to technology, in the form of the Internet to reach their public. Streaming has come to the rescue of these artistic manifestations that, by definition, aim at having an audience to listen, watch, and certainly, applaud at the end of the event.
One of Montreal’s holiday traditions, the Candlelight Christmas presented every year by the Lyric Theatre Singers, will also be online for this occasion. For this time the public will not have to go the Loyola Chapel—its traditional venue—but instead remain at home, and enjoy the concert on their computer.
Producing the concert online presents challenges that the group and its director have faced with ingenuity. According to their own press release: “Bob Bachelor, Artistic Director and recent recipient of the Jean-Pierre-Guindon prize, has created another eclectic program for loyal and new audiences alike. The mini-concert will be rich with warm, soothing melodies and memorable moments. Despite social distancing, forty Singers from Montreal, Saskatoon and even Nashville, have managed to stay united in song, taking part in virtual rehearsals and recording their voices and video footage at home.”
Regarding the show itself, tradition and novelty are always well-integrated in the Lyric performances: “This online project includes songs by such composers as Irving Berlin and Sammy Cahn, as well as a hit from Broadway’s modern-day Christmas classic, Elf, and other musical surprises. As tradition would have it, Bob Bachelor and his creative collaborators have a few tricks up their sleeves to ensure that each segment entertains and delights!”
This year the Candlelight Christmas concert will be free, and as usual, there will be three presentations: Thurs. Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m., Fri. Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m., and Sat. Dec. 19 at 4:30 p.m. The shows can be accessed at the Facebook and YouTube channels of the Lyric Theatre Singers. They will remain on those channels throughout the holiday season. (Look for Lyric Theatre Montreal on Facebook or on YouTube.)
Although this year the shows are free, The Lyric Theatre Singers still appeal to the generosity of its followers “in order to continue working on engaging musical projects and find itself on a solid financial footing when rehearsals and performances resume. Friends donating $25 or more will receive a tax receipt. A portion of funds raised will be donated to The Depot Community Food Centre.”
Feature image: This year the traditional Candlelight Christmas concert will be online, and free