Heidi Epp with the Yarrow Choral and Performing Arts Society leads the Dolce Choir through rehearsal at Yarrow elementary. The society is gearing up for its inaugural advent concert on Dec. 9. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Celebrate World Choral Day with Shalom, Pacem, Peace in Yarrow

Five musical groups come together to bring advent concert to Chilliwack on Dec. 9

The tight-knit community of Yarrow is coming together in true musical fashion to bring Shalom, Pacem, Peace to the stage on Dec. 9.

The advent concert will showcase the talents of five Yarrow groups, most of which make up the Yarrow Choral and Performing Arts Society.

“It’s a real community event,” says Heidi Epp, founder of the society and artistic director of the concert.

The inaugural event features the Yarrow Community Choir, urban percussion trio UP!, the Yarrow String Quartet, and the Fraser Valley Children’s Choir (FVCC). The FVCC is comprised of the younger Dolce Choir, and the older, more-experienced Cantabile Choir.

About 50 people in total will be performing. It’s Epp’s first time organizing a concert of this size and “certainly the first time as a World Choral Day event.”

She’s referring to the annual world-wide event that takes place on the second Sunday in December. Each year, hundreds of concerts around the world are registered to be part of World Choral Day. The concerts take place during the months of November and December, and some — like Shalom, Pacem, Peace — fall on World Choral Day itself.

“World Choral Day officially is Dec. 9. We are on the official day,” says Epp. They are concert No. 109 out of hundreds across the world, and 20 in Canada.

“The focus this year is especially on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.”

The concert’s title “is ‘peace’ in three languages: Shalom is Hebrew, Pacem is Latin, and then English,” she explains.

“We were learning the piece before Pittsburgh even happened,” says Epp, referring to the mass shooting that occurred at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27. “This is our response to this kind of world event, that we’re continuing to try and pursue peace.”

The lyrics of three of the pieces that they will be performing focus on, and contain the word, ‘peace’ whether in Hebrew, Latin or in English.

The concert brings together a mix of different styles and talents. The Yarrow Community Choir has been around for three years, while the two younger choirs that make up the FVCC have been practising for just over a year.

And everything that the taiko drum trio UP! performs is original. They will even be performing a special piece that will be an “enlightening” experience for the ears and eyes, says Epp.

One other special song that people will hear on Dec. 9 is The Heart of Beautiful B.C. It’s an original song written by the dozen 10- to 12-year-old singers who make up the Cantabile Choir.

READ MORE: Fraser Valley Children’s Choir wins first in ‘Sing Me a Song’ contest’s under 18 category

In the spring, the song won an award in the province’s Sing Me A Song contest. Sing Me A Song is an opportunity for musical groups of all ages and genres to write and sing an original song in the lead up to 2021, the 150th anniversary of British Columbia’s entry into the Confederation. Groups are encouraged to write a song about what British Columbia means to them or their community.

The Cantabile Choir, in the matter of four weeks, composed a piece for the contest. The song debuted in the spring of this year and placed first in the 18-and-under category, even though it was submitted in the 12-and-under category.

Shalom, Pacem, Peace takes place Sunday, Dec. 9 at Yarrow United Mennonite Church (4336 Eckert St.) at 3 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults and $5 students/seniors, and available at eventbrite.ca, Inspired Arts and Gifts (42333 Yarrow Central Rd.), and from choir members.



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Heidi Epp with the Yarrow Choral and Performing Arts Society leads the Dolce Choir through rehearsal at Yarrow elementary. The society is gearing up for its inaugural advent concert on Dec. 9. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

The Dolce Choir with the Yarrow Choral and Performing Arts Society is gearing up for the society’s inaugural advent concert on Dec. 9. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Heidi Epp with the Yarrow Choral and Performing Arts Society leads the Dolce Choir through rehearsal at Yarrow elementary. The society is gearing up for its inaugural advent concert on Dec. 9. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

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