A local Christmas production is adding some new voices to its contingent this year.
East Kildonan resident Monika Wall debuted her show, Handmaid of the Lord, in 2010, performing the 20-song repertoire on her own the last three holiday seasons.
This year, though, Wall, a soprano, is bringing some friends into the mix, with soul singer Flo Oramasionwu serving as mezzo-soprano, Aaron Hutton and Scott Reimer as tenors, and Stephen Haiko as bass. The musicians are bassist Sean Burke, Richard Gillis on trumpet, percussionist Scott Senior, and Jonathan Alexiuk on piano, while Dave Ens will serve as the narrator.
As well, a choir of approximately 20 singers will make up the Nativity Chorus as angels and shepherds. The show will take place at Eastview Community Church (3500 DeVries Ave. in East St. Paul) on Dec. 6 at 8 p.m.
Wall said the songs take on a variety of musical styles, from rock to tango to rumba, and help tell the story of the nativity from Mary’s perspective as she carries out God’s will.
"Usually, she’s just sort of a sideline person, and we don’t normally think ‘how did she feel in all of this?’" Wall said. "She was going to be pregnant, but she knew and her fiancé knew that he wasn’t the father, so how was he going to react to that? Would he be able to deal with the stresses? Would he believe her? How could he possibly believe that she was telling the truth?"
Wall said the songs also touch on Mary wondering how she will handle the task of raising the son of God.
By presenting the story in a new way, Wall hopes to give audiences a refreshed view of the story.
"If you’ve heard the story many times, you’ve heard these words and you almost tend to tune out after a while because it’s so familiar," she said. "When you hear these words set to music, and set to music in a way you’ve never heard before, it makes people listen with fresh ears."
Wall, a singer who started out in the classical realm before switching tracks into a jazz route, had never written choral music before. She initially approached local composer Sid Robinovitch to write it, but he encouraged her to write it herself and offered help whenever necessary.
"I would write it and I would bring it to him — he would tweak things or give me ideas and I would change things up a bit," she said. "He was extremely supportive and helpful."
Wall hopes to have Handmaid of the Lord performed by an orchestra and eventually see it touring.
Tickets to the show are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Into the Music, Music Trader, or by contacting Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Wall, who released a CD of original tunes called Parallel Mondo last year, visit www.monikawall.com.