Submitted by David Rain –
For long-time Kitchissippi resident Andrew Jones, it all started when he was just a kid, growing up in Montreal. His dad, noted composer Robert Frederick Jones, took him to a concert of 450 children singing a special piece he had written called Mass for Treble Voices.
“That amazing sound of so many voices coming together was a life changing experience that set me on my path of singing,” says Andrew. “Shortly after, I joined a church choir and haven’t looked back.”
Two years ago, Andrew became a member of the award-winning a cappella choir, the Stairwell Carollers. It’s a unique choir. Founder and director Pierre Massie is an award-winning composer himself and the Carollers often premiere his latest compositions. This year, in a creative burst, Pierre composed eight new arrangements, refreshing some of the best-loved Christmas carols such as Silent Night, Mon beau sapin (O Christmas Tree) and Adeste fidele (O Come, All Ye Faithful).
Pierre is also open to suggestions from choir members and has thus included the Gower Wassail, composed by Andrew’s late father, in this year’s program. Dedicated to the Montreal Welsh Male Choir, this rollicking wassail is based on a Welsh folk tune and has quickly grown to become one of the Stairwell Carollers’ favourite carols.
Singing the Gower Wassail brings out deep emotions for Andrew. As his father was dying, he had to stop teaching but continued to compose, even in his hospital bed.
“Writing music provided purpose, a way to gift those around him, and an escape from the physical. I miss my Dad,” says Andrew. “When I hear his music, it is his voice, and that fills me with warmth. Like he’s still here.”
Kitchissippi residents will have the pleasure of hearing the Ottawa premieres of Robert Frederick Jones’ Gower Wassail, plus Pierre Massie’s new carol arrangements at the Stairwell Carollers’ concert, Adeste fideles which is taking place at Trinity United, 1099 Maitland Ave. on Friday December 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and children. They are available at the door, and also before and after church services on Sundays, or by calling 613-821-9214.
And, if you’re looking for that perfect Xmas gift, the choir’s CDs will be on sale too. You’ll be giving twice, as proceeds from concerts and CD sales allow the Carollers to present donations to local charities and music scholarships to local high school students totalling over $130,000!
If you can’t make it to Trinity United you can still hear the Carollers on one of these dates:
- November 26: St. Stephen’s, 212 Chemin Old Chelsea, Chelsea, 7:30 p.m.
- December 3: St. Thomas Anglican Church, 1619 Stittsville Main St., 7:30 p.m.
- December 9: St. Mark’s the Evangelist, 1606 Fisher Ave., Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
- December 16: Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar St., 7:30 p.m.
- December 17: St. Columba Church, 24 Sandridge Rd., 7:30 p.m.