Program Notes for VOCES8 by Aimée M. Petrin

Dear Friends,

Over the years, Ovations has presented many holiday concerts with artists such as Chanticleer, Natalie MacMaster, Wynton Marsalis & the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and others. Earlier this month, we, the Ovations staff, were talking about how much we were looking forward to the concert with VOCES8 and how singing, choral music in particular, holds a special place in the holiday season.

The conversation brought me back to my childhood, when my family gathered every season with my aunts, uncles and cousins to sing carols up and down the street in my grandparents’ neighborhood. A “good French-Canadian Catholic family,” there were dozens of us ranging in age from babes-in-arms to well beyond. We sang loud and heartily to anyone who opened their doors to us. I can only imagine what we sounded like (we thought ourselves pretty good!). But in the end, that wasn’t what was important. It was about coming together as a family and spreading joy. It was about tradition and making memories.

Favorites of public broadcasting both in the U.S. and across the pond, VOCES8 holds a reputation as one of the most skilled and versatile vocal ensembles working today. Dedicated to inspiring people through music and sharing the joy of singing, VOCES8 has “been on the list” for several seasons with the hope to bring them to Portland. We are thrilled they’ve embarked on creating digital concerts and we can take this opportunity to introduce the ensemble to you virtually in this special bespoke concert.

I still have my decades-old little paper book of “Christmas Carols” bearing a John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company ad on the back cover. I take it out every year and put it in a prominent place among my holiday decorations. I’ve tried to explain caroling to my 6-year-old and he just looks at me in disbelief. Sadly, some traditions have faded away, making way for new ones.

We hope today’s concert with VOCES8 brings back joyful memories and inspires, as you and your family celebrate this holiday season.


Aimée M. Petrin
Executive & Artistic Director