Christmas is only a couple of weeks away, and despite Corona stealing its thunder, the holiday is determined to make its mark.
Christmas carols, of course, are an integral part of the season, and the Old Joes’ Choir (OJC) together with Camerati have taken it upon themselves to spread some Christmas cheer.
The two groups share that “Christmas means different things to different people. For a great many of us, the spirit of Christmas has always been best captured by and through music. In the wake of a year that has compelled us to pause and reflect both on the past and what the future can bring, we would like to celebrate what Christmas can still mean to us, in our own way” and so they present ‘That’s Christmas to Me’ (arr. Pentatonix).
Audio Engineered by their very own Denham Hakel and the Video Production courtesy of Infusion Studio, the collaboration has now hit the interwebs and is available for your viewing and listening pleasure.
We spoke to Russel Valentine of the OJC who shared with us the thinking behind this collaboration and stated that while the OJC has collaborated with other choirs on multiple occasions, performing together with the Old Peters Choir, St. Thomas’s Choir etc, this partnership would mark their first digital release of coming together for this kind of project.
He shared that they hoped to do something meaningful this season, especially considering this present climate, and the place we as a society are in right now. He said that the song they have chosen, which is ‘That’s Christmas to Me’ by Pentatonix, the song resonates well with the message they hope to convey this Christmas season, adding also that it speaks to the current situation that we are all in.
We spoke to the ladies at Camerati as well, Anushiya Bastiampillai, Ayushka Nugaliyadda, Inakshi Sirimanne de Silva, Melanie Bibile, Neomi Muthukuda, Priyadarshini de Mel, Sherene Vas and Yanitra Kumaraguru who were featured on the video; they too shared that both choirs brainstormed on coming up with the right song, going through a number of their Christmas favourites, and they shared that out of all the suggestions ‘That’s Christmas to Me’ was what stood out. Especially musically they said that it had the harmonies and melodies that were beautiful, and the lyrics and overall vibe encapsulated the warmth they wished to get across this video. They also seconded what Russel said, the fact that it lent itself especially to this year and the “chaos we’ve all been through, and served as a reminder to us at least, that the crux of what Christmas would mean to all of us could stand true to despite everything that has been going on” they said.
This song was previously performed by the OJC back in 2015, and they have now chosen to perform it with their first-time collaborators – the Camerati choral group.
Russel also added that they, the OJC do not tend to perform with so few members however considering that the ladies at Camerati are a set number, they did not wish to overwhelm the balance of their partnership. Therefore, this time around you will see a total of 20 choral members taking part in total.
He said that they are grateful for the opportunity to perform with the Camerati group and that they are super elated about getting to work with them. He shared that it was a great experience and especially considering that they all have wonderful mutual friends amongst the groups, it has been a fantastic collaborative effort, leading up to the final production which is available online now.
Camerati also shared that they as a group have been friends with several members of the OJC, having worked with some of them previously on choral and theatre projects. They said that they have spoken about collaborating for a while now, and thought that Christmas was a perfect opportunity to do so.
They said that the OJC consists of an amazing talented group of individuals, and that “working on this project with them was nothing short of a pleasure”. They also added that in terms of their specific contribution, it was an equal collaboration on both sides, that it involved many zoom calls of planning every detail out and countless rounds of feedback and ideas etc.
They said that if you are to look at the credits on the video, even in terms of conceptualizing the entire project they had represented each side, working on each and every aspect of the video, and chorally the girls shared that they tried several iterations to figure out and divide each of their parts, to arrive ultimately at the best way they could be balanced between the girls and the boys voices.
Camerati also shared that, as an all-female vocal ensemble, with a wide repertoire ranging from gospel, classical, jazz, barbershop, show-tunes, and pop – they have made efforts every year to contribute to the Christmas season as they look forward and enjoy it very much. They shared that they have had their own concert titled ‘Harmonies for the holidays’ and consistently every year they have had multiple Christmas gigs which they are excited about, however they added that this year, considering the pandemic, they scaled down to a great extent and given the pandemic situation they shared that they are trying their best to be as responsible as they can, while still bringing music to the season.
The ladies at Camerati shared that they do hope put together one more Christmas favourite online which will come together during Christmas week and they invite audiences to look forward to that.
YouTube: The Old Joes’ Choir