Conservatory singers jazzing up Christmas in Song


mount royal university conservatory, christmas in song, calgary christmas concerts
Christmas In Song is Mount Royal University Conservatory’s annual holiday concert Nov. 29. Tickets available by calling 403-440-7770.

Mount Royal University Conservatory is getting a head start on the festive yuletide season with its Christmas in Song concert Nov. 29, 2014.

What goes into building 26 years of tradition?

Mount Royal University Conservatory choral director Jean-Louis Bleau, christmas in song
Mount Royal University Conservatory choral director Jean-Louis Bleau

We asked Mount Royal University Conservatory choral director Jean-Louis Bleau (yes, that Jean-Louis Bleau, one of Avenue magazine’s Top 40 Under 40). Bleau is known for asking his choirs to engage difficult music, always seeking to push members past their perceived limitations in order to produce music which — while challenging — is ultimately very rewarding.

This year’s Christmas in Song is no different.

Bleau oversees Mount Royal’s family of choirs, which this year totals around 130 singers between ages five to seniors.

“Having this year’s CIS so early has indeed made it much more challenging,” said Bleau.

“Kantorei, for example, will perform the Cadman Requiem on Nov. 22 and only seven days later be singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. It is a very quick turn around, however, with the music being so different it keeps us engaged moving from one style to the next. That makes it interesting and keeps us on our toes and pressing forward.”

This year adding the Jazz component opened the door to some new possibilities, he says.

“Each year we have worked to incorporate and highlight different programs on offer at Mount Royal University Conservatory. This year we thought we would draw attention to the Conservatory’s Jazz program and the wonderful faculty who teach our Jazz programs. This also gives our orchestra and choirs an opportunity to work in a different genre and collaborate with different artists.”

Christmas in Song has delighted family audiences with a mixture of holiday favourites, classical masterpieces and traditional carols. It’s become a treasured part of the city’s holiday festivities.

Christmas in Song is an excellent showcase featuring the talents of the Calgary Youth Orchestra, and Mount Royal’s family of choirs: Arietta, Arioso, Artio and Kantorei. This year, the Conservatory’s Jazz faculty and students will be adding some seasonal swing.

Tickets available at or by calling 403-440-7770. Group and family discounts available.

Sherri Zickefoose, Nov. 14, 2014



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