The Carol Cantata

Don Butt

United Church Choir Director

Monday, December 10 2012

It was an unusual day, Sunday Dec. 2, on two counts. First, the sun shone. Second, the United Church was overflowing with people at the joint Anglican and United Church morning service. But there was good reason for the latter, with the presentation of Dr. David Ouchterlony’s Carol Cantata. Ouchterlony was the internationally known organist and choirmaster at Timothy Eaton Memorial United Church in Toronto for many years. His Carol Cantata is a Christmas music composition of carols from several countries of the world, though thankfully for the singers, all in the English language.

The musical forces consisted of the Gabriola United Church choir, augmented with fine voices from the St. Martin of Tours Anglican congregation and members of our community choirs, together with a children’s choir from the elementary school and the Gabriola Handbell Choir. It was ecumenical in the broadest sense!
The children’s choir really highlighted the event. Their music teacher, Tom Bradbrooke gave up his personal time to prepare the school children, and to see that every word they sang was accurately memorized and sung in tune. Their “Donkey Song” was a bright moment with everyone joining in for the last “hee haw.” There is potential here!
The Gabriola Handbell Choir, the brainchild of Margaret Taylor, is becoming an attraction in itself. Those clear bells added so much to the presentation. Readings by Judy Moxam gave perspective to the event, but without the United Church’s incredibly talented organist and pianist, Hiromi Bradshaw, none of this could have been possible – she helped rehearse the children and the adult choirs, and scurried between the organ and piano, depending on the need at the time, and made the organ sound like a true cathedral instrument. A heartfelt thank you to all who participated, and to those who attended, for making this a musical event with added meaning for the season! And just maybe we can hope for more sunny days to come as well.