SSO celebrates Beethoven 200th with local choirs & star soloists

“Oh friends not these sounds. Let’s instead strike up a joyful one.”

It’s a quote that still rings true two centuries after it was written. A lyric taken from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 or the Ode to Joy symphony. For Saskatoon Symphony CEO and creative producer Mark Turner it’s a call to arms and set him on a mission to mark the anniversary with Beethoven 9 at 200.

Judith Yan says Beethoven’s 9th symphony is exhilarating. (David Howells)

“This was Beethoven’s final work, his greatest work and it’s all about the triumph of the human spirit,” Turner explains. “There’s no better way to mark the 200th anniversary than having people come together and sing simply for joy.”

This performance will feature eight regional choirs alongside the orchestra and guest soloists Avery Lafrentz, Julie Nesrallah, Ian Cleary, and Adam Lau. Singers from Kindersley, Rosthern, Humboldt and Saskatoon choirs will make up the community chorus of more than 100 voices in this magical evening. From childhood music lessons to movies and commercials, this work is instantly recognizable.

“This is a piece of music that makes you feel deeply when you listen to it.”

The North Sky Chorale is one of eight regional choirs taking part in this performance. (Photo Provided)

Katharina Bauman first sang Ode to Joy in church and the North Sky Chorale member is excited to be part of this anniversary.

“It’s just so joyful and epic,” says Bauman. “This is a piece of music that makes you feel deeply when you listen to it. It cheers you up and makes you want to celebrate.”

Beethoven’s 9th holds special memories for conductor Judith Yan.

“My grandmother, who only spoke Cantonese, I remember her humming it in the kitchen as she worked. I still remember that, it was magic,” says Yan. “This piece, Ode to Joy, has touched everyone in some way, it sticks with you. If hummed the first few notes to a child, they’d be able to finish it for me.”

“It’s just such a classic piece of music and a once in a century opportunity.”

Dustin Buechert says he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sing when his choir was invited to be part of the concert.

“We’ve been practicing every two to three days for a month to be ready. It’s going to be powerful to be with all those musicians on one stage,” Buechert says. “It’s just such a classic piece of music and a once in a century opportunity.”

Beethoven 9 at 200

Saturday May 4, 2023


TCU Place

Tickets $69 – $96

This performance will also be available online at for $21

For all the details and to buy tickets, click here.

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