Brian Wismath will be conducting Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 15 and 17 at UVic, performed by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and the Victoria Choral Society. (Photo submitted)

Choir director adds orchestra baton for Messiah performance at University of Victoria

Victoria Symphony Orchestra to perform holiday classic with community choir

Brian Wismath has worked with choirs for most of his career as a music director, but this holiday season he’ll take on a different role.

Wismath, who guides the Victoria Choral Society and Vox Humana Chamber Choir, is choral and orchestral conductor for this weekend’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, a joint effort combining the talents of the Society’s singers and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.

While Wismath been a musical director for around 10 years, conducting an orchestra presents different challenges.

“The biggest difference is the way the singer’s instrument is inside their body, and there’s different ways to help bring that out as a conductor,” he said. “Typically choral conductors do a lot of work in terms of reading and shaping text, whereas orchestra players are dealing with the articulation … and the technique behind approaching the music.”

Handel’s Messiah runs Dec. 15 and 17 at UVic’s University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. Tickets start at $38 and can be purchased at For more information visit

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