Stories with Songs, Strings & Steps: Group performing next Tuesday and Wednesday

The Songs, Strings and Steps group will deliver a sentimental show that will pull on another kind of string this year – heart strings.

Violinists Daniela Stahl (left) and Elizabeth Jogia.

The Songs, Strings and Steps group will deliver a sentimental show that will pull on another kind of string this year – heart strings.

“We wanted a show that had heart,” said Calvin Dyck, director and conductor for the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra.

The 40 orchestra performers will tell the stories of the music that they play, in a production fittingly entitled “A Christmas Tale.”

Narrated by Sylvia Friesen, one such story tells the history of a French carol, “Il est Ne.”

A young boy exiled from Germany is later forced into the army during WWII. As a prisoner of war in France, he sees children walking down the streets, singing French carols.

But Dyck said there will be comical moments along with the heartfelt.

Before performing the song “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,” Friesen will tell the story of a family from the Prairies.

Dancing around their living room, only uncle Dave notices that the Christmas tree has caught on fire. Lifting it up, he throws it out the door into the snow.

The audience will then see uncle Dave walk on stage, carrying a burnt skeleton of a tree.

In its 11th year, Dyck is focused on making the show as seamless as possible.

“Last year, a patron came up to me and said, ‘This is as good as anything in Las Vegas.’”

Joined by the Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir, brass, wind and percussion musicians, and performers from Charlene Hart’s dance studio, the show is similar in size to a Vegas performance, with 150 members included in the concert.

“You want to make it a total experience, a story. It’s more than just the music, it’s the atmosphere.”

Adding to the show’s dynamic is how members from the youth orchestra dance while playing their basses, cellos, violins and violas.

The choreography is set to the style of the song, and will vary between an Irish jig, a joyful happy hop to songs like “Jingle Bells,” and even some line dancing with the songs that sound more country.

The show runs on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Central Heights Church, at 1661 McCallum Rd.

Tickets are $25, $22, and $12 and are available at the House of James, at 2743 Emerson St., and King’s Music, at 2669 Langdon St.

Discount prices are available for groups of 20 or more.

For more information, contact Heather Dyck at heather.dyck@shaw.ca.

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