This Christmas season Amaryllis will perform “Messiah” in Cornwall, at Trinity Anglican Church, 105 Second St West on December 17, 2016 at 7 p.m.  Tickets for this performance are available by advance sale at Scotiabank in Brookdale as well as at The Grind.

On December 18, 2016 at 4 p.m. Amaryllis will present “An Amaryllis Christmas” at Knox Presbyterian Church in Vankleek Hill. This will feature excerpts from “Messiah” as well as much-loved and familiar carols.  Tickets for this performance are available at Scotiabank and The Review in Vankleek Hill.  Following this performance audience members are invited to share some holiday treats with choir members in the Archie Hardy Hall.

Amaryllis Women’s Choir was founded in September 1994, a handful of women who loved to sing and who had the goal of bringing excellent choral music to the Vankleek Hill area. Starting as a small group of 12- to 15 women, they were fortunate to find professional direction from Carol and Richard Hague, professional musicians who had recently moved from Montreal.  Aside from directing the choir, Carol and Richard taught members vocal techniques and also produced arrangements of music specifically tailored to Amaryllis.  Members of the choir came from Vankleek Hill, Hawkesbury and L’Orignal until, after several excellent concerts, new members came from Alexandria, Maxville, Grenville, Brownsburg, Lachute and St-Andre.  Brought together by the love of choral music and the delight of learning and honing vocal techniques, the choir continued to grow until the untimely passing of Richard Hague in 2010.  The choir subsequently underwent a transformation as it adapted to the reality of finding a new director.

After more than a year of searching for an experienced director, the choir was delighted to find that Uwe Lieflander, a musician, composer, teacher and director of choirs and orchestras had the energy to take on this task and was willing to travel from Ottawa every week to direct Amaryllis.  Maestro Lieflander was born in Germany and trained at the Regensberg Academy of Church Music.  After moving to Canada he pursued his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto and at York University.  Uwe is passionate about exposing children to music at an early age. Through the Sparrows Music program children from pre-K to university are taught vocal and choral music techniques that expose them to beautiful music. Maestro Lieflander has said “It is amazing to observe the vast and far-reaching changes that occur with this music on a physiological, psychological, and spiritual level. As a result of listening to or singing this music, billions of new neural connections are made.”

Early in his tenure as director of Amaryllis Maestro Lieflander proposed a production of Handel’s “Messiah” in Vankleek Hill for Christmas.  To this end tenors and basses were recruited and it became Amaryllis Choir.  Most amateur vocal musicians dream of the opportunity to sing “Messiah,” especially with orchestral accompaniment, and the presentation of “Messiah” in Vankleek Hill meant that lovers of the oratorio did not have to travel to Montreal or to Ottawa to enjoy this amazing music.  Men and women from Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec now fill the ranks of Amaryllis, and aside from learning music such as “Messiah,” “Gloria,” “Stabat Mater” as well as madrigals and motets, vocal exercises and techniques are part of the weekly rehearsals.