An enthusiastic but small audience enjoyed the musical variety show, Sleighbells and Song presented by the Oliver Community Arts Council on December 7th at the Frank Venables Auditorium. A heavy wet snowfall kept many prospective concert goers indoors on Tuesday night, but those in attendance were appreciative.
Choirs from the Oliver Elementary and Seventh Day Adventist Schools, the Desert Airs Men’s Chorus and the Advent/Valley Quartet charmed the crowd in the first set. The children’s bright faces and bright voices were an instant hit and a great opener to the show. Some clever choreography, cheerful lyrics, and good rhythms combined to make for a highly entertaining start to the evening. The Desert Airs impressed with their tuneful a cappella harmonies and crisp musical delivery – and their crisp white shirts. Handsome outfits, gentlemen! This is a very polished men’s choir who need to have their very own concert — soon, we hope! The mixed quartet from the Adventist and Valley Congregational churches served as a good counterpoint with some reflective music. Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming and Rise Up Shepherd were especially moving.
The second set featured seasonal music from the Penticton Concert Band. The band began with an audience sing-along led by soprano Madison Johnson. This young lady has a powerful confident voice that did not need any added amplification. It was a treat to hear a young person sing in full voice from abdomen, lungs, and head. No swooping notes, breathy whispering, or pop diva imitations for her. Brava, Miss Johnson!
The Penticton Concert Band gave an accomplished, rousing performance with good balanced sound from all sections, cohesive playing, and excellent attention to direction. Their repertoire spanned several centuries of Christmas music and showed off styles varying from Gregorian and Baroque to jazz and pop. Although any band’s volume could easily overwhelm listeners in an indoor venue — risking amplifying a wrong note, missed cue, or jangly ending — the Penticton Concert Band proved to be very well-rehearsed and easy to listen to, under the competent direction of conductor Gerald Nadeau.
The Oliver Community Arts Council welcomes suggestions for future community Christmas concerts. Contact //
Have a review of an arts council event or member group performance? Submit it to