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Okotoks choir rewinds retro hits for Christmas concert

The Big Rock Singers are back this year with two performances that are sure to turn back time for the holidays.
BRS Cast Photo-2021 Christmas
Okotoks' Big Rock Singers are making a comeback this Christmas with two shows Dec. 11 at the Foothills Centennial Centre.

The Big Rock Singers are back this year with two performances that are sure to turn back time for the holidays. 

Before there were Netflix Christmas specials and streaming apps, there was the Christmas TV special and the Big Rock Singers Choir is serving that up this holiday season with two shows on Dec. 11. 

The adult choir's marketing director Nairn Nerland said he and his castmates are looking forward to getting back on stage for the first time in 24 months. 

"You really do miss it," said the Big Rock singer of 22 years. "We certainly have, over the past two years, done the videos and things, but singing in front of a live audience and the feedback you get out of it, the joy, you miss that." 

The theme, he said, was planned for the 2020 year, but was obviously cancelled due to COVID-19 and the associated health regulations. 

Inspired by the "Christmas specials of yore," he said, artistic director Carey Gruber is bringing in elements from shows such as Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Bob Hope circa 1960-'70s.

Nerland said concertgoers can expect to hear a lot of familiar songs revamped with "unique and fun arrangements." 

Singers come to the choir from all experience levels, Nerland said, and their door is always open to those interested in signing up. 

"We have a no-audition policy," he said, noting singers must be over 18. "From that point on, you learn how to sing and how to perform and have fun."

The choir, which has been around for 32 years, has a tagline: "You'll find more than your voice," Nerland said. 

"We're quite a strong group. You come here to sing, but what you find is a good support network and lots of friends." 

More than 60 singers will perform at the 3 and 6 p.m. Let it Snow shows at the Foothills Centennial Centre on Dec. 11. 

Tickets are available online and all COVID-19 safety measures are being taken, including physical distancing and proof of vaccination or a negative test. Masks will be mandatory at all times inside. 

Tickets range between $10-30 and a portion of sales goes to support the Western Wheel Cares Foundation. 

Historically, Nerland said, the choir has donated more than $46,000 to local charities and organizations. 

Visit for more details and ticket information. 

Caitlin Clow

About the Author: Caitlin Clow

Caitlin is the editor of the Okotoks Western Wheel and Cochrane Eagle. She graduated from Mount Royal's Journalism program in 2015 and has worked for The Canadian Press, The Globe and Mail, Postmedia and Black Press.
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