Conductor Janet Shlackl leads the Urbanstreet Choir in a rehearsal on Nov. 10, 2022. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Conductor Janet Shlackl leads the Urbanstreet Choir in a rehearsal on Nov. 10, 2022. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

New choir in Port Alberni ready for its first Christmas concert

The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it comes the promise of Christmas music

The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it comes the promise of Christmas music.

The Urbanstreet Choir is looking forward to hosting its first Christmas concert, titled, “An Urbanstreet Christmas.” The choir was born just this spring from the former Sea Notes choir, which used to run out of the Capitol Theatre.

The choir started up again this fall “with a bang,” says director Janet Schlackl. It went from just 15 members in the spring to 32 members currently, with more planning to join in January.

“A Christmas concert is a great way to start off the season for people,” said Schlackl. “We’re hoping the community will come out and support us.”

The show will be “fairly diverse” in nature, said Schlackl. There will be some traditional Christmas carols, but the choir will also be paying tribute to Ukraine with a Ukrainian Christmas carol. Shlackl hints that there will also be an opportunity for the audience to sing.

“Some of the Christmas songs we’re using are a prayer for peace and an end to war,” said Schlackl. “It’s a reminder that the Christmas season is all about peace. But let’s not save it all for Christmas, let’s spread it around throughout the year.”

In addition to the regular choir and the a cappella group, there will also be performances by several smaller groups of singers, including an all-treble piece and a duet. The Noiles siblings will also be performing a piece together.

“It’s an opportunity for them to branch out and do some group numbers,” said Schlackl. “I think people will enjoy it—it’s a little bit of a change in the program.”

Urbanstreet Choir is a learning choir, said Schlackl, with a focus on development of voice and active listening. The choir doesn’t hold auditions, but allows singers to join on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We find that the choir has become very close-knit,” said Schlackl. “One of the main objectives is to offer an opportunity for people who want to sing in a choir that is inclusive and opening.”

Sandy Bouleau, who accompanies the choir on piano, says Schlackl has a “fun way” of imparting knowledge on new choir members.

“They’re learning without knowing they’re learning,” Bouleau says. “It’s been really fun to watch.”

Anyone interested in joining the Urbanstreet Choir can send an email to urbanstreetchoir@gmail.com. The choir practices out of the Alberni Valley United Church (3747 Church Street) on Thursday evenings.

“The church has been very welcoming and accommodating,” said Schlackl. “We love the intimacy of the space—we can see the people that we’re singing too. And the acoustics are fantastic.”

The concert will take place at the United Church on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 ($6 for ages 12 and under) and are available from choir members and at the door. The show will be directed by Schlackl, along with Bouleau and Colleen Brooks.

An Urbanstreet Christmas isn’t the only choral concert taking place this holiday season. The Barkley Sounds Community Choir will also present “A Jolly Merry Christmas” at 2:30 p.m. at the Alberni Valley United Church on Sunday, Dec. 4. Tickets are $15 (children under 12 free) and are available at The Grove at Harbour Quay, at the Echo Centre, from choir members and at the door.

A concert presented by Timbre! Choir, celebrating their 50th anniversary, unfortunately had to be cancelled this year.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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