Mr. O Canada sings of Christmas

Mark Donnelly collaborates with family to sing a another kind of anthem this December – an anthem of cheer.

Mark Donnelly will host a concert titled

Mark Donnelly will host a concert titled

Nearing the Christmas season, Mark Donnelly and his family sing the advent prayer before dinner.

A composer since high school, it’s not uncommon for him to stop and think of how the family of 11 can improve upon the song’s arrangement.

The 51-year-old singer, most recognized for performing the national anthem at major sporting events, says its hard to switch hats between family man and conductor.

“If you get into music as a profession, you’re always analyzing it to make it better.”

The father of nine children will be hosting a Christmas concert featuring himself, and members of his family.

His sons Sean, 21, Lawrence, 16, Francis, 13, and his daughters Colleen, 19, Theresa, 16, and Allanna, 10, will be performing in the show titled “A Donnelly Family Christmas,” on Friday, Dec. 23 at the Clarke Theatre in Mission.

The children grew up listening to their father pursue a variety of music.

Donnelly performed as a lyric tenor and conductor throughout high school and university, and has since sang in many recitals, operas, oratorios and musical theatre productions in both Canada and the United States. He has also been a member of the Vancouver Opera Chorus since 2001.

While the artists loves being on stage, he enjoys sharing the limelight. It’s what inspired him to create the tradition of holding up the mike to the audience, when singing the anthem at events.

“It takes the focus off me. An anthem invites people, so its quite fitting that everybody sing it.”

Donnelly says there may be some sing-a-long moments during the Christmas concert as well.

Expect some hit Christmas carol classics such as “Jingle Bells,” along with other more complicated arrangements sung in Latin with five-part harmonies.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-885-985-5000 or online at www.ticketmaster.ca. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.