Local vocalists are a big part of a big bicentennial celebration coming up on May 4 in Saskatoon at TCU Place. The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra welcomes regional choirs and members to sing alongside the stars at Beethoven 9 at 200. It’s a celebration of Ludwig von Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 or the “Ode to Joy” symphony.  

“This was Beethoven’s final work, his greatest work and it’s all about the triumph of the human spirit,” Saskatoon Symphony CEO and creative producer Mark Turner explains. “There’s no better way to mark the 200th anniversary than having people come together and sing simply for joy.” 

This performance will feature eight regional choirs alongside the orchestra and guest soloists Avery Lafrentz, Julie Nesrallah, Ian Cleary, and Adam Lau. Singers from Kindersley, Rosthern, Humboldt and Saskatoon choirs will make up the community chorus of more than 100 voices in this magical evening. From childhood music lessons to movies and commercials, this work is instantly recognizable. 

Local performers include Manny Lefebvre, Denise Germaine, Beverly Trach, Connie Hall, Allison Eichorst, Margie Meckelborg, Greg Wacholtz, Rita Frank and Bob Henderson. 

Beethoven’s 9th holds special memories for conductor Judith Yan. “My grandmother, who only spoke Cantonese, I remember her humming it in the kitchen as she worked. I still remember that it was magic,” says Yan. “This piece, Ode to Joy, has touched everyone in some way, it sticks with you. If hummed the first few notes to a child, they’d be able to finish it for me.” 

For more information or tickets, click on saskatoonsymphony.org.