The Valley Festival Singers and Trinity Western University’s Masterworks Chorus performed together in March 2018 at Trinity Reformed Church in Abbotsford. The choirs reunite for two more concerts this weekend. (Abbotsford News file photo)

Valley Festival Singers and TWU Masterworks Chorus unite for two concerts

Performances on March 9 in Surrey and March 10 in Abbotsford

After the success of last year’s St. John Passion, the Valley Festival Singers (VFS) and the TWU Masterworks Chorus join forces once again for a program showcasing eight-part choral harmony.

The concert, titled I Have Had Singing, will be performed under the direction of Dr. Joel Tranquilla for two dates – Saturday, March 9 at 7 p.m. at Fleetwood Christian Reformed Church (9165 160 St.) in Surrey, and Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m. at Calvin Presbyterian Church (33911 Hazelwood Ave.) in Abbotsford.

The combined choirs will sing classics, hymns, folk songs and spirituals.

The longest piece on the program is a set of three motets by the German composer Johannes Brahms grouped under the title Fest und Gedenksprüche.

The work, written for a festive occasion in Brahms’s hometown of Hamburg, contains settings of various biblical texts.

It is considered to be one of his finest works for choir and the culmination of the musical styles that influenced him – from Palestrina and Schütz, to Bach and Beethoven.

RELATED: Choirs unite to present Bach’s St. John Passion at two concerts

Also on the program are the works of Canadian composers John Burge and Jeffrey Ryan, as well as pieces by Mendelssohn (Heilig), Beethoven (Hallelujah Chorus from Christ on the Mount of Olives), Barber (Agnus Dei), and arrangements of the traditional spirituals Over My Head and Witness.

“Unaccompanied music for combined choirs is among the most elegant and exciting in the choral repertoire because it allows the singers to show off their highs and lows in terms of range and dynamics and expressive capability,” Tranquilla said.

VFS, founded by Rudy Baerg, has been entertaining listeners in Abbotsford for more than 42 years.

They are known for their wide range of choral repertoire, singing everything from oratorio to opera, folk and Broadway tunes.

The Masterworks Chorus is an auditioned community ensemble made up mostly of faculty, staff and alumni of Trinity Western University. It is also open to community members who love to sing at a high level.

Masterworks serves as an extension of the choral program at TWU and is conducted by Tranquilla, director of choral activities in the School of Arts, Media and Culture.

Tickets for I Have Had Singing are available at, House of James in Abbotsford, from choir members, or in cash at the door.

Prices are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for students, and free for kids 10 and under.

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