Maple Ridge Secondary School students’ choir group performed at the winter market on Saturday. (Claire Oliverio/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students’ choir group performed at the winter market on Saturday. (Claire Oliverio/Special to The News)

VIDEO: Maple Ridge Secondary choir perform at Haney Holiday Farmers Market

First live performance in over 20 months

For the first time in over 20 months, students from Maple Ridge Secondary (MRSS) choir were able to perform live in front of an audience, during the Haney Holiday Farmers Market.

On Nov. 27, the choir groups sang Christmas carols at the bandstand in Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., said MRSS choral director, Claire Oliverio.

“MRSS choral ensembles, Aurora Senior Choir, Crescente Concert Choir, Silva Advanced Choir had a great time shaking off the raindrops to sing Christmas carols. After so much time away from in-person performances, it was a humbling and rewarding experience to re-live the magic of having a live audience,” said Oliverio.

The group had been rehearsing and putting together performances on Zoom, over the past year-and-a-half. Recently, they performed together for the first time for the school’s Remembrance Day ceremony, however the performance was recorded and not live, in front of an audience.

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“As an ensemble, we had forgotten what it was like to receive that electrifying energy from a parent smiling at us, a grandparent swaying along to the beat, or seeing a friendly face whoop-whooping during the applause with gusto. It truly is a magical experience to create, share, and receive energy through music.”

The group sang many familiar tunes such as Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Last Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, Carol of the Bells, Let it Go from the movie Frozen, It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.

MRSS students shared their choral director’s sentiment and some of them expressed what it meant to them, to perform live.

India Williams, a grade 11 student said, “I’m excited to finally perform in front of a live audience! Especially since I’ve never had a ‘normal year’ – this is my first year getting to do so.”

Melike Erneli, a grade 12 student agreed that after not being able to perform live for almost two years, this was a great opportunity for the students.

“This was also a great opportunity to bring the Maple Ridge community together and share some Christmas spirit,” said Erneli.

Another student, Elayne Williams, a grade 10 student chimed in, “It was really nice to have the crowd singing and dancing along with us. It was my favourite part.”

This week, Caelum Treble Chorus comprising of eight grade 10, 11 and 12 girls, will be performing at the Christmas in Pitt Meadows event hosted by the City of Pitt Meadows at Spirit Square on Dec. 3, said Oliverio.

“Following the awards ceremony and tree lighting, our MRSS women’s chorus will be performing pieces like, White Winter Hymnal, Last Christmas, Santa Tell Me, and Let it Snow,” she said.

“Our last ‘normal’ performance was 20 months ago in March 2020 and the world has drastically changed since then. Now more than ever, our students need connection, restorative practices, and moments of joy; I am honoured to share those experiences with them through music.”

ALSO READ: Memorial Peace Park to be a-GLOW for Christmas

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