Accompanied by the nine-voice Threshold Singers, more than 60 people gathered at Mission Point on New Year’s Day for the 30th annual Lighting of the Memories ceremony, organized by the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society.
One by one, cardboard ornaments inscribed with the names of lost loved ones, were committed to the flames of a flickering beachfire.
In a poem, Audrey Spiller farewelled her late husband: “Who are you? / I am the one who loves you most and knows you the best. / What advice do you have for me? / Keep walking, carve your own path, inspire others to do the same.”
Tess Huntly, executive director of the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society, served as master of ceremonies. Huntly has led the organization for just under two years.
“This ritual is not just about letting go,” Huntly said, “it’s actually a joyful and loving experience. Most of our work is supporting people to live and live fully, even people who have been given a palliative diagnosis.”
The Hospice Society will screen its 2022 documentary, Living With Dying, at the Gibsons and District Public Library on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Making Christmas last
The MOTET ensemble, under the direction of David Poon and accompanied by organist Michael Molnar, heralded the 12 days of Christmas during a concert at St. Hilda’s Anglican Church on Jan. 2.
“It’s a very multicultural program,” announced Poon, who selected works ranging from Gregorian chant to 20th century settings of millennia-old creeds. The work Bogoroditsye Dyevo, by Arvo Pärt, was sung in its original Estonian in honour of the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Poon noted the passing of pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who shared the same death date as fourth-century Pope Sylvester I. MOTET commemorated Sylvester’s feast day with Tu Es Petras, a short work by French composer Maurice Duruflé.
During four familiar carols, audience members joined the choir in song. The nine choristers soared into complex harmonies and descants as each number neared its conclusion.
MOTET reassembles in mid-May for rosary-themed concerts in both Gibsons and Vancouver. Browse to motet.ca for event listings.