JULIA KOT —From December 8–17, I was fortunate to be among a group of sixteen singers from UBC Opera who participated in thirteen concerts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as part of “A Traditional Christmas” concert series. With heartwarming and hilarious stories alike, Christopher Gaze hosted the seasonal concert conducted by Maestro Pierre Simard. Diane Loomer’s EnChor choir also collaborated for the shows.
Only rehearsing once with orchestra before starting the tour around the Lower Mainland, I was pleased that the group was well-prepared by coaches at UBC in the few weeks prior. Last year, I participated as an undergrad in these concerts. This time, as a Master’s student, it was definitely a blessing not to have any final exams since the concert schedule is extremely busy. Brandon Thornhill and I were thrilled to make our solo debuts with VSO singing The Trumpet Shall Sound (Handel) and Ave Maria (Gounod arr. Simard), respectively. We all had moments in the spotlight, with fourteen singers from UBC performing solos within various pieces. Taking our first steps onstage with the VSO was both a nerve-wracking and an exhilarating experience. At each performance though, my nerves soon dissipated as I looked out at the audience full of smiling families and friends of all ages who were thoroughly enjoying our concert that brought Christmas cheer.