With the festive season upon us, young members of music director Rhonda Sylvester’s Gracenotes choir, aged five to 18 and grouped as Rhapsody Girls, Tiny Tenors and Tiny Gracenotes, took to the stage on Saturday, Dec. 12 for two shows, charming crowds at the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) with their rendition of ‘There’s Christmas in the Air’.
While Gracenotes choir ranges from ages 13 to 18, Rhapsody Girls and Tiny Tenors range from nine to 12, and Tiny Gracenotes are aged between five and eight.
Students from Stettler, Castor, Bashaw, Erskine and Coronation make up the membership of the choirs.
“This year was our 21st annual Christmas concert held in Stettler,” said Rhonda Sylvester. “We had set rehearsal times once a week for each group, but when it comes to concert and festival preparation, rehearsals are increased.”
The preparation for the Christmas production began back in July.
“It takes hours of searching for interesting, fun and challenging music and it starts in the beginning of July and once I find about six or seven songs I really like, I start to develop a theme around the song selection and then add to it,” said Sylvester. “A typical Christmas concert usually hosts between 26 to 33 songs”
After the Christmas Concerts the choirs are officially on Christmas break until they meet again in January.
“Earlier this season, the older Gracenotes Choir hosted the Alberta Youth Choir and special guest vocalists at the Alliance Church, so they have been a very busy group, learning and memorizing music and choreography,” added Sylvester.
Earlier this year, in May 2015 the Gracenotes Choir and the Rhapsody Girls and Tiny Tenors competed in the Provincial Choral Festival in Edmonton, where both groups were given top honours and first place rankings in their prospective classes.
Growing up in Stettler, Sylvester first started singing under the tuteleage of Elain Pitt and sang with Pitt’s Pets Choir.
“From there I continued to study music at Red Deer College, graduating with Vocal Performance degree, and University of Alberta at Augustana Campus, graduating with Bachelor of Music Vocal Performance,” said Sylvester. “I also have my music degree levels from Royal Conservatory of Toronto and Conservatory Canada, Ottawa.”
The choirs were accompanied by Sherry Rempel.
Sylvester thanked the volunteers and parents for their support.
“Many parent volunteers are behind the scene helpers and without them, the concerts would not be possible,” said Sylvester.