Gordon Gerrard considers himself a "big sucker" for Christmas, so he's a fitting choice to conduct the "A Traditional Christmas" concerts staged by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Gerrard, who is only a few months on the job as the VSO's new assistant conductor, makes his Surrey debut Sunday, Dec. 16 during a pair of concerts, as part of a 15-date tour of the region this month.
"I love Christmas, so I'm pretty excited about this whole series, these concerts," said the Manitoba-raised Gerrard, 35.
For yet another season, Christopher Gaze hosts the VSO's Christmas concert series, with UBC Opera Ensemble and EnChor choirs also on stage.
From year to year, the format of the concerts remains relatively unchanged, with a heartwarming mix of music and Gaze's stories.
"We sat down in September with Christopher Gaze, soon after I started on the job, and decided what the program would look like this year," Gerrard explained.
"We certainly try to vary the music, and Christopher's spoken thing also varies, but it's basically done the same way each year - we know people want to do some sing-along carols, of course, and we usually have the choir and some soloists who come from the opera program at UBC."
Gerrard said the sing-along songs this year include "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "First Noel," "Joy to the World" and, as always, a concert-closing version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
The VSO's concert series kicks off tonight (Thursday, Dec. 13) at St. Andrew's-Wesley church in Vancouver and ends Dec. 23 in Maple Ridge.
Show times this Sunday at the Bell are 4 and 7: 30 p.m. For tickets and series info, call 604-876-3434 or visit www. vancouversymphony.ca.