For Alison Hunter, Christmas begins in June.
“I work on Christmas in the summer months,” she said. “I work six months ahead in my world.”
That’s because Hunter serves as the choir director of the Whistler Singers, which is entering into its busiest season. With the Remembrance Day ceremony behind them, the choir will perform at the Arts Whistler Holiday Market on Saturday (Nov. 25) at 4 p.m. and as part of the Whistler Skating Club Winter Show on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m.
“We’ll be singing two very short sets in between (the skating),” she said, of the latter event. “They’ll skate and the choir will come out on the ice — very carefully. We’ll sing a couple of songs, get off the ice and they’ll be more skating. Then we’ll be back on the ice to sing more songs. We’re like the half-time entertainment.”
That’s ahead of their own show called Whistler Singers Present “A Whistler Christmas” on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.
“We always have guests that perform with us,” Hunter said. “We’re really excited about the venue we’re hosting it in. They’re amazing. They’re so supportive of community events.”
The Christmas shows don’t end there though. “My poor (choir) gets really busy because the next night we do Christmas caroling at the Fairmont,” she added.
That performance begins at 6 p.m. Then the following day, on Dec. 24, is the popular 34th annual Christmas Eve Carol Service at the Westin Resort & Spa also starting at 6 p.m.
Hunter organizes that event every year, which always includes readings from members of the community alongside a selection of songs.
“We sing the same seven carols every year,” Hunter said of the service. “Everyone comes in, sits down and turns off their phones and we’re a community for an hour. There are so many people in Whistler so far from their homes it gives them a sense of community and belonging.”
While the choir is currently hard at work practicing for the busy season, they begin accepting new members in January. Currently, they have 35 members, ranging in age from 14 to one member in her 90s.
Hunter’s goal is to grow membership to 60, the same number it was when she was singing in it and Molly Boyd was directing the choir. “We have a lot of young adults — even though North Americans aren’t really brought up in the choral tradition like in Europe and other parts of the world,” she said. “We often get a lot of international people here for a season and they come and sing because that’s what they do.”
And don’t worry if your voice isn’t perfect, she added. “We have people who have worked as musicians and those who don’t know what the little black dots on the page are,” she said. “People are always welcome to show up for rehearsal and see what they think.”
To find out more about the Whistler Singers — or to keep up-to-date on their performances — visit them on Facebook by searching Whistler Singers.