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Women’s choir celebrates a ‘cozy’ Christmas in South Surrey

Choral concert scheduled for Dec. 14
The Common Sound Women’s Choir, with director Liz Berwick (at far left) and accompanist Kerry O’Donovan (at far right). (Contributed photo)

The title of the event is A Cozy Christmas with Common Sound – and director Liz Berwick said that’s just the feel the South Surrey-based women’s choir is going for with its first-ever Christmas concert.

Scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at the choir’s base of operations, Mount Olive Lutheran Church (2350 148 St.), the concert will feature a blend of well-known Christmas repertoire favourites, along with equally seasonal, but lesser-known pieces, Berwick said.

The very-reasonably-priced $10 ticket also includes a tempting winter’s eve menu of carols, cookies and cider.

Most of all, Berwick agreed, for those who haven’t yet encountered the choir, founded in 2021, it will be a showcase not only of choral skill, but also the abiding principle behind Berwick’s group – to help build community by allowing a group of women to bond over love for singing.

Berwick has described it as a “multi-generational group of women (which) aims to connect with audiences and each other through various genres, including folk, classical, jazz, and more.”

“A huge amount of emphasis needs to be placed on healing through music; bringing our community and our community of singers together,” Berwick said.

The choir has grown from a 25-member level this past spring to some 40 members currently.

It benefits from the professionalism of Berwick, who teaches elementary music in White Rock and received her Bachelor of Applied Music in Jazz and Contemporary Voice from Vancouver Community College, and also from accomplished pianist and theatre musical director Kerry O’Donovan, who has been the choir’s accompanist “since the beginning,” Berwick said.

“As a jazz major, I’ve tended to give the repertoire a jazz and folk focus,” Berwick said. “But we really do all kinds of genres,”

That’s true of A Cozy Christmas, which will open with a seasonal classic, ‘Carol of the Bells’ which many may not realize was written by a Ukrainian composer (Mykola Leontovych, who penned the original, ‘Shchedryk’, in 1914).

Other well-known pieces, such as ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ will also combine with what Berwick describes as “unique pop pieces” – lesser known and more contemporary compositions such as Sara Bareilles’ ‘Love Is Christmas’ and Pentatonix’ ‘That’s Christmas To Me’.

In spite of the depredations of the COVID-19 virus and its variants – which meant months without being able to rehearse – Common Sound has bounced back, Berwick said, including a very well-received concert with indie-folk quartet The Crescent Sky this past June.

And she’s already looking forward to the second year’s-end concert, at Crescent United Church on June 10, which will draw on a diversity of composers and genres – from Joni Mitchell to aboriginal music – to present a multiplicity of women’s stories.

For tickets, visit

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