Watch 150 kids pack themselves into a small chapel in Montreal to celebrate the 100th anniversary of composer Benjamin Britten's birthday. These young singers perform excerpts from A Ceremony of Carols with harpist Valérie Milot and conductor Jordan de Souza in this exclusive CBC/Radio-Canada video co-produced by CBC Music and Espace.mu.

You can also see some amazing behind-the-scenes photos by opening the gallery at the top of this post. If you don't see the gallery, just click here.

The Canadian connection

Returning to England by boat after three years in North America, Britten made a brief stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he acquired a copy of The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems. The question of which bookshop Britten visited is still hotly debated, but there is no doubt the book he bought there sparked one of the great choral classics of the twentieth century. The anthology contains many of the poems Britten set for harp and voices — while at sea aboard the MS Axel Johnson in the spring of 1942 — which became A Ceremony of Carols.

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posted by Scott Tresham on Nov 08, 2013