Chilliwack Songs of Praise Orchestra
What began 13 years ago with five families has become the Songs of Praise Orchestra, with up to 45 players, augmented by members of the Metropolitan Orchestra, the Chilliwack Community Band and the Gospel Brass. They are hosted by various churches in the Fraser Valley, six to eight times a year.
Ivan Pettigrew, the founder says, “Some of the young people in our church enjoyed music lessons and playing in school bands. An idea was born. Have these families and children accompany the hymns and Christmas songs. Practice time was in short supply so music was handed out one month ahead with a rehearsal the day of the Program. Playing together and socializing became a very enjoyable activity and soon other churches showed interest in hosting the event.”
All ages are welcome but there is an emphasis on encouraging youth to enjoy the experience of playing in a full orchestra. Selected programs cover the major events of the Christian year – Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. Solo artists from the community are often highlighted.
Pettigrew had his formal musical training in New Zealand where he played in the city Symphony orchestra. He spent fifteen years as a missionary pilot in the Andes. He came to Chilliwack in 1979 and headed up the Aviation Program at Trinity Western University until his retirement in 1991. He has had the honour of being named in the Aeronautical Association Hall of Fame for his designs of a large scale electric-powered model.
The next program of the CSOPO is hosted by the New Life Christian Church at 5850 Promontory Road, Chilliwack, March 20, 2016, 3:30 pm.
For this Easter program, the orchestra will be joined by the popular Heritage Singers. This is a group of men and women, 30 strong, backed up by a full orchestra, 30+ strong. But, you get to participate, as this is a sing-along of traditional Easter music. It will be a memorable event.