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Listen to the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In
Streaming ends on December 13, 2018
Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul CBC CHRISTMAS SING-IN 2017
  1. ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID'S CITY
  2. THERE IS A FLOWER
  3. O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL
  4. READING: BIRTH IN A STABLE
  5. O MAGNUM MYSTERIUM
  6. WEXFORD CAROL
  7. A BABE IS BORN
  8. GOD REST YOU MERRY, GENTLEMEN
  9. READING: THE SHEPHERDS RECEIVE THE NEWS
  10. A SPOTLESS ROSE
  11. MARY HAD A BABY
  12. DING! DONG! MERRILY ON HIGH
  13. JOY TO THE WORLD
  14. READING: THE WISE MEN
  15. I WONDER AS I WANDER
  16. MY LORD HAS COME
  17. I SAW THREE SHIPS
  18. GOOD KING WENCESLAS
  19. NARRATION: THE OTHER WISE MAN
  20. LES ANGES DANS NOS CAMPAGNES
  21. THE FIRST NOWELL
  22. PAVANE, FROM CAPRIOL SUITE
  23. THE SNOW LAY ON THE GROUND
  24. THE LAST WORDS OF DAVID
  25. SILENT NIGHT
  26. WHAT SWEETER MUSIC
  27. HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING
  28. CARILLON SORTIE

Published

Dec 14, 2017

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By
Robert Rowat

If you love sacred Christmas music, then look no further for your 2017 holiday soundtrack.

The 38th annual CBC Christmas Sing-In took place Dec. 10 with a capacity crowd at Montreal's Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul and, joining via video simulcast, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Bourgie Concert Hall. The full concert is now streaming in the player to your left.

Get into the spirit of the season with this heartwarming program of Christmas favourites performed by:

  • The Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul
  • Benjamin Raymond, Frédéric Gagnon and Mark Dharmaratnam, trumpeters
  • Martin Ringuette, Evrim Dogan and Matthieu Bourget, trombonists
  • Mark Morton and Ben Reimer, percussionists
  • Stephanie Manias, soprano
  • Jonathan Oldengarm, organist and director of music
  • Jean-Sébastien Vallée, conductor

While you're listening, consult this online concert program for information on the repertoire and to follow along. And scroll through the photo gallery below to discover why this annual concert marks the beginning of the Christmas season for so many people in Montreal.


As though on cue, Montreal received its first snowfall of the season on Dec. 10, but that didn't deter people from arriving at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul hours before showtime. They were greeted at the outdoor pop-up tent by CBC's Julie Melanson (centre) and Andrea Stanford (right).

Staff from CBC Montreal's Communications department greet the public as they arrive for the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

The lineup wrapped around the neighbouring Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which is where we snapped this shot of some merry Sing-In attendees.

The vocal ensemble Soulstice a Cappella entertained the people lining up to attend the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Church volunteers Michel Poitras (left) and Robert Koffend welcomed staff and musicians at the artists' entrance, and appeared happy to do so.

Michel Poitras (left) and Robert Koffend greet staff and musicians at the artists' entrance of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul.

Once doors opened at 2 p.m., the public received concert programs from CBC Montreal personalities such as Nancy Wood, host of CBC Montreal News at 11.

CBC Montreal's Nancy Wood greets the public arriving at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul for the 38th annual CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Within minutes, the church was nearly full.

CBC recording technician Sébastien Heppell makes final adjustments prior to the start of the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Meanwhile backstage, choristers hydrated and shared a laugh while robing up.

Choristers hydrate and share a laugh while robing up for the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Microphones were placed throughout the church to record the concert for broadcast.

Microphones are in place to record the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Katherine Duncan, the voice of CBC Radio 2's Choral Concert, co-hosted the concert with Sean Henry of CBC Montreal News.

Rev. Glenn Chestnutt welcomed the public to his church. He used the opportunity to tell them about the new Christmas album from the Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, called LUX.

Rev. Glenn Chestnutt welcomes the public to the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul for the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In.

Hubert Lacroix's second term as president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada comes to an end on Dec. 31. A longtime supporter of the CBC Sing-In, he explained how Christmas music gives us a welcome moment of serenity in a world plagued with difficulties.

Organist Oldengarm (seated) and conductor Vallée were — like the proverbial oxen — standing by.

Leanne Bayer, executive director of West Island Community Shares (WICS), told the audience about her organization, which raises funds for 41 different non-profit groups on the West Island of Montreal. More than $7,700 was collected for WICS during the concert's free-will offering.

Leanne Bayer, executive director of West Island Community Shares, addresses the public at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Before the start of the concert, conductor Vallée put the audience through some choir drills.

Conductor Jean-Sébastien Vallée rehearses the crowd prior to the start of the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

At first, he was underwhelmed. "I can't hear you!"

Conductor Jean-Sébastien Vallée runs a choral boot camp with the audience at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

But, after some further vocal warm-ups, they met his approval and he took the obligatory group selfie.

Jean-Sébastien takes a group selfie at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In.

Which looked like this.

Conductor Jean-Sébastien takes a group selfie at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In.

At the same time, in neighbouring Bourgie Hall, conductor Francis Choinière also took a group selfie. His choir, Le Choeur des Mélomanes, led the singing there.

Conductor Francis Choinière takes a selfie with the audience at Bourgie Hall during the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In.

The sopranos and altos used the side aisle to make their way to the back of the church.

In the narthex, they lit candles.

The lights in the church were dimmed, a hush fell over the audience, and the choristers slowly advanced down the centre aisle. Soprano soloist Stephanie Manias led the way.

Soprano soloist Stephanie Manias leads the processional carol at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

"Once in Royal David's City."

Soprano Stephanie Manias sings the opening verse of 'Once in Royal David's City' at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

The tenors and basses joined them in the choir stalls.

The Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul proceeds to the stalls while singing 'Once in Royal David's City.'

Everyone sang along for the fourth and fifth verses of the processional carol.

Cameraman Claude Dubé got the best shots for the webcast and the video mix transmitted live to nearby Bourgie Hall.

Backstage, Julie Lapierre produced the six-camera video mix with help from CBC's Chris Maskell.

Backstage, CBC's Chris Maskell assists switcher Julie Lapierre with the video mix at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Next door, the Sunday School superintendant's office was turned into a makeshift control room for recording engineer Pierre Lévesque (right), producer Robert Rowat (centre) and audio technician Sébastien Heppell.

The 45-voice Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul performed a number of a cappella pieces with remarkable blend and precision.

The Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul performs at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

In addition to conducting the Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, Vallée is director of choral studies at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University.

Jan-Sébastien Vallée leads the Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul at the 38th annual CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Those who came to sing had lots of opportunities to do so. The words to all the audience carols were printed in the programs.

Members of the audience join in the singing of their favourite carols at the 38th CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Many of the sing-along carols included thrilling descants from the sopranos.

The sopranos and altos of the Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul perform at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

"Good King Wenceslas."

Partway through the concert, Chestnutt told a Christmas story entitled The Other Wise Man.

Rev. Glenn Chestnutt delivers a Christmas story at the 2017 CBC Sing-In.

Organ scholar Matthew Johnson provided an extra pair of hands and pulled stops and turned pages for Oldengarm.

Spotted in the audience: Wayne Riddell, conductor of the very first CBC Christmas Sing-In back in 1980 (and at least 10 others since then).

Wayne Riddell was the 1st conductor of the CBC Christmas Sing-In in 1980.

The brass and percussion ensemble accompanied the choir for two virtuosic works: Julian Wachner's arrangement of "The Snow Lay on the Ground" and Randall Thompson's "The Last Words of David."

An ensemble of brass and percussion accompany the carols at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

"Silent Night."

Jean-Sébastien Vallée conducts the choir and audience at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

The concluding carol, "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," began with an extended organ solo.

Jonathan Oldengarm plays the 7,000-pipe Casavant organ at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul at the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In.

Percussionists Mark Morton and Ben Reimer cranked up the excitement.

The audience responded with a huge round of applause.

The audience applauds at the conclusion of the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

Oldengarm, Vallée, the brass and percussion ensemble and, of course, the choir all got a long ovation for their performance.

Organist Jonathan Oldengarm takes a bow at the conclusion of the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In in Montreal.

The public filed out of the church to find a wintery Montreal evening awaiting them.

The public leaves the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal following the 2017 CBC Christmas Sing-In.

More to explore:

Joy to the the World: a guide to CBC Radio 2's Euroradio Christmas special

Our 10 favourite Canadian classical albums of 2017