Carols for Christmas

Sunday December 4, 2016 at 2:30 pm
St. George’s Anglican Church


This year’s Carols for Christmas features Sharlene Wallace, harp, Ben Grossman, hurdy-gurdy and percussion, and Ron Korb, flute, as guests of the Guelph Chamber Choir. Although the hurdy-gurdy is a late medieval instrument, Grossman plays it in a variety of styles from ancient melodies to contemporary improvisation. Harps, hurdy-gurdies and early flutes played a vital part in the celebration of Christmas hundreds of years ago when the tradition of carol singing first developed into what now is some of our richest, most beautiful repertoire for choirs.

This promises to be a fascinating exploration of carol traditions and sounds combined with Christmas poetry and readings set amid the enchanting seasonal decorations of St. George’s Anglican Church.

CLICK HERE to read the press release

CLICK HERE to read the programme

Photo ©2016 Paul Baker Photography

Guest Artists

Sharlene Wallace, harp
Ben Grossman, hurdy-gurdy and percussion
Ron Korb, flute


Sharlene Wallace, harp

Sharlene Wallace is both a Classical harpist and one of Canada’s most prolific and influential Celtic/lever harp players. She has won two international lever harp competitions and created seven independent CDs. Sharlene’s most recent album is In Night’s Deep Silence, a Christmas/Winter album recorded and produced with bass player George Koller. Sharlene’s albums are journeys in rhythm, spaciousness, Celtic, Classical and South American genres and in expanding the harp repertoire as a composer and with numerous commissions for the lever harp by Canadian composers such as Rodney Sharman, John Beckwith, Evelyne Datl, Kirk Elliott, and South American harpist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz.

Sharlene’s concerts and teaching have taken her across North America and to Europe, including the International Diva Series 3 (Toronto), Ottawa Chamber Festival, 11th World Harp Congress (Vancouver), Celtica and the Workshop Internazionale di Arpa (Italy), Musicora (Paris, France), Festival of the Sound (Parry Sound, ON), Harpcon (St. Louis, MO), Stratford Summer Music Festival (ON) and Vancouver Island Musicfest (BC). She is also a regular instructor for the summer harp retreat weeks at CAMMAC in Lac MacDonald, Quebec and Island Mountain Arts’ International Harp School in Wells, BC.

Sharlene teaches both lever and pedal harps privately in Guelph, Oakville and Toronto as well as at the University of Guelph, Wilfred Laurier University and York University. Her own Classical harp performance degree is from the University of Toronto where she studied with the eminent Judy Loman. Sharlene is principal harpist with Guelph, Oakville and Kingston Symphonies.


Ben Grossman, hurdy-gurdy and percussion

Ben Grossman is a busy musician and sound artist: improviser, studio musician, composer, and noisemaker. He works in many fields, having played on over 100 CDs, soundtracks for film and television, sound design for theatre, installations, work designed for radio transmission, and live performances spanning early medieval music to experimental electronica. Ben’s tools of choice are electronics, percussion, and, especially, the hurdy gurdy (vielle à roue ), a contemporary electro-acoustic string instrument with roots in the European middle ages. Through extended techniques, live-looping and processing, Ben seeks to use it as a physical interface into improvised sound creation, spontaneous composition and the exploration of acoustics, form and extended aesthetics.

In 1997 Ben studied Turkish music (ud and percussion) in Istanbul and has done vielle workshops and lessons with Valentin Clastrier , Matthias Loibner , Maxou Heintzen and Simon Wascher as well as working on Deep Listening and improvisation with Anne Bourne . With an abiding interest in pushing the limits of his instruments and pushing the boundaries of whatever venue or medium in which he works, Ben’s only solo CD, Macrophone was released in 2007 and features a unique two disc form for simultaneous, aleatoric playback.


Ron Korb, flute

2016 Grammy-nominated Ron Korb has been travelling and collecting indigenous woodwinds from Europe, Asia, and South America for years. His compositions are steeped in the diverse cultural traditions and experiences of his travels and his upbringing in Canada.

After graduating from University of Toronto, he began composing for Hong Kong pop stars like Alan Tam, Roman Tam, and Yvonne Lau with songs that reached Gold and Double Platinum sales.

He has over thirty critically acclaimed releases and reissues in twenty countries on various record labels. The albums are on many top favourite lists and legendary singers in Asia have made cover versions of his music. He has toured in North America, Europe, Central America, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Wuxi, Suzhou,

Ron has given solo performances twice at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. The Glastonbury Festival in England and also The National Theatre in Panama City, The Shanghai International Spring Music Festival, The Century Theatre in Beijing, World Art Stage in Edinburgh, Arnhem Cathedral in Holland and Expo 2005 in Nagoya and Madison Square Gardens in New York.

He has also shared stages with Peter Gabriel, Jane Siberry, Tia Carrere, Liona Boyd, The Yardbirds, Olivia Newton John, Cesaria Evora and Dadawa. Ron has performed for Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister of Canada, Princess Takamado of Japan, Princess Bopha Devi of Cambodia, and was featured on the World Youth Day recording for Pope John Paul.

Ron was a featured soloist in The Lord of the Rings Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall and also played as a soloist a song he composed accompanied by the Toronto Symphony at the concert for the 2008 Olympic Bid.

Ron has played on dozens of movie soundtracks by various composers. The films include Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm and Ride with the Devil, Atom Egoyan’s Exotica, Sweet Hereafter and Felicia’s Journey, Devil’s Knot Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra John Woo’s Blackjack and the 3D IMAX film Space Station narrated by Tom Cruise. Other credits include The Snow Walker, Being Julia and Merchant/ Ivory’s The White Countess starring Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave. Ron played on a 2013 Emmy winning episode of World Without End by Golden Globe and Academy Award winning

In October 2014 Ron Korb represented Canada at The China Shanghai International Arts Festival’s Canadian Culture Week along with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Montreal Symphony. Ron’s sold out concert at Shanghai Concert Hall was voted the audience choice by the fans.

Ron’s latest album Asia Beauty received a nomination at the 58th Grammy Awards and won the “Best in Show” at the Global Music Awards and First Prize for Best Instrumental at the 12th Annual International Acoustic Music Awards. Asia Beauty also won the World Fusion category in the 2016 ZMR Awards in New Orleans and Best World Album in the One World Radio Awards in the UK. He also won The Brand Laureate International Personality Award along with Adele, Keanu Reeves, Andy Serkis, English footballer Sol Campbell and veteran BBC journalist John Simpson.