A winter wonderland for the ears 

Who: Winter Harp

Where: My Place

When: Thursday, Dec. 5

If you think the Rolling Stones are old, wait until you see Winter Harp. Not the harpists themselves mind you, but the instruments they play date back to ancient Babylonian and Israelite times.

The award-winning ethereal-sounding ensemble are bringing their 12 th century atmospheric music to Whistler for a special winter treat incorporating Christmas songs, stories, costumes and candles.

Unique instruments include the only bass psaltery in the world, the medieval organistrum and the nyckelharpa. Whether or not you can pronounce these names doesn’t matter, because the sound they make will leave you speechless anyway.

Dozens of candles will light the stage as musicians in medieval attire play flutes, hand drums, tambourines and temple bells, providing a backdrop for both traditional and well-loved carols.

Winter Harp’s director and Celtic harpist and singer, Lori Pappajohn, said the ancient sounds are a perfect prelude for the festive season.

"The music takes you back to the stories about shepherds on the hill and angels in the sky. The stories are timeless, the carols soothing and with a visually stunning stage, you’ll get your Christmas spirit in no time," she said.

One of the most unusual experiences in the show will be a piece called The Camels.

"It’s a song you would hear in the desert if you had been on your way to Bethlehem," said Pappajohn.

Winter Harp features poet Alan Woodland, who travels to England’s old libraries once a year to find poems and stories for the show.

"We forget what winter really was," said Pappajohn. "It was a dark time, weather-wise and emotionally, where elders and children perished from the cold. So the start of the season would always herald a gathering, to recall legends and pray to the spirits that the village would be protected until the sun came out again. The Celts in particular had fire festivals and lit candles to call back the sun."

This is the 10th year for the group’s principals and the latest production stars Pappajohn, Woodland plus classical harpist Jill Whitman, medieval instrumentalist Joaquin Ayala, percussionist Lauri Lyster, flutist Kenichi Ueda and child performers Emilie Whitman and Shylo Sharity.

For more information, go to www.winterharp.com or contact the MY Place box office at 604-935-8418.


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