Christmas Gift: Merry Christmas Dolce Music

A decade ago, I began singing with some girls from church, Becky Brotherston, Diana Wong, Jennifer Wood, and my sister Stephanie. I had sung for years in local choirs including the Vancouver Youth Choir, British Columbia Youth Choir, and Anna Magdelana girl’s choir and it was a joy to bring it closer to home with our small quintet. With our five part harmony and unique blend of voices, we sang every year at the regional church Christmas performances and received rave reviews. One of our favorite compliments came from a family friend’s young son:

“Mommy, are those angels?”

And thus Dolce – Italian for sweet – was born. With so many of our friends and loved ones around the world, we decided to give the gift of music and record this CD for them.

  1. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies (Tchaikovsky) Into: Paul Plimley. Piano: Diana Wong & Sarah Ward
  2. The First Noel (arr. Sarah Ward)
  3. Silent Night (Mohr/Gruber arr. Janice Kapp Perry)
  4. Christmas Medley (arr. Jon Schmidt) Piano: Diana Wong
  5. Ave Maria (Gounod/Bach) Vocals: Becky Brotherston
  6. O Holy Night (arr. Janice Kapp Perry/Bruce Pullen)
  7. Suo-Gan (arr. Brian Irant) Soloist: Becky Brotherston
  8. What Child Is This (arr. Janice Kapp Perry)
  9. Night of Silence (Daniel/Kantor)
  10. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (arr. Jon Schmidt)

Each of the arrangements you will hear were handpicked and rehearsed for hours as we honed our craft. By then I had acquired the skill of playing the piano and singing at the same time – no small feat! My world was rich with music, eager to spill into yours.

Dolce L to R: Stephanie, Sarah, Becky, Jennifer (missing Diana)

The five of us recorded this album on December 19, 2002 at my friend Paul Plimley’s Waterlou Studio on his unparalleled Yamaha C7 Disklavier grand piano. It is not uncommon for full length CDs take weeks to record and produce, but we pumped out this labor of love in a whopping four hours! The creative process was exhilarating, entertaining, and exhausting.

Speaking of entertaining, on the first take of our first track, Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies, Paul – the consummate entertainer – delighted us with an impromptu introduction, unrehearsed, unplanned, and unexpected. As he is speaking into the microphone in his faux British accent, Diana and I are at the piano, poised to begin our number with the girls sitting behind us on the floor, as we are desperately trying to contain our fits of uncontrollable giggles. How can you possibly recreate that spontaneity? We had it on the first take.

After we received the final cut from Paul, I took it to my producer friend Richard Duggan on Christmas Eve to have it mixed, and then the process of burning CDs, signing CDs, and cutting the artwork commenced. We finished the CDs just in time to gift them on Christmas Day!

You are receiving this copy as a token of gratitude for your role in our lives. It is a gift to know you. I hope you will play this album during the holidays and remember fondly our time together. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays with peace and prosperity in the New Year.