Two graduates of the Sheptytsky Institute, Harold Visser, who recently received his MA at MASI, and Dr. Brian Butcher, who received his PhD in 2011 and now teaches at MASI, were instrumental in bringing the Sparrows Choir and additional ensembles to St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Shrine in Ottawa. There, on Sunday December 15, the performers sang sections of Handel’s Messiah and several Christmas carols. The repertoire included Mykola Leontovych’s “Carol of the Bells.”
Pictured are Dr. Butcher (left) and Harold Visser (right) with Maestro Uwe Lieflander, who brilliantly conducted the choirs and orchestra. Dr. Butcher is the assistant to Maestro Lieflander, and is also pictured singing one of the solos. Harold Visser is the administrator of the Sparrows Choir, and is pictured making an announcement before the intermission. The event was a standing-room-only performance with almost 400 paid audience members. Everyone in attendance was awed by the virtuosity of the choirs, soloists and orchestra.
Dr. Butcher and Harold Visser are well acquainted with the superb acoustics at the Ukrainian Catholic Shrine as they regularly sing Vespers and Liturgies there – along with their families.