A Short History of MantraVani’s Christmas in the Round/Winter Solstice Celebration

Christmas in the Round & Winter Solstice Celebration began 25 years ago with the MantraVani Orchestra. The first concert was at Kits Neighbourhood House, and this year the MantraVani Orchestra is happy to return to for this 25th Anniversary Celebration!

The word “Vani” in Hindi refers to sound, voice and expression. “In The Round” is an ancient music/theatrical concept, where the musicians are seated in a circle in the center of the room and the audience sits in concentric circles out from the center. This formation creates an atmosphere of unity and connection to the group and the music.

Christmas in the Round & Winter Solstice Celebration is an evening of traditional and non-traditional music with several original pieces. The evening is all about audience participation. So lots of singing and and great grooves. Attendees are are more than welcome to dance (if there is room!). Its been described as blissful, joyous, and fun, plus it can both “rock” and go deep into the sacred!

Over the years Christmas in the Round & Winter Solstice Concert has become one of the cornerstones of the Vancouver spiritual community.


Jerry DesVoignes began practising Yoga in the Late 70s which included studies of Sanskrit, mantra, ragas, kirtan and bhadjans with Yogi Baba Hari Dass. About 25 years ago, Jerry, together with Elio Rota founded the MantraVani Orchestra to perform sacred world music. For several years the MantraVani Orchestra did large events at Kits House every two months or so called Chanting In The Round, with the main annual event being Christmas In The Round & Winter Solstice. After those early days at Kits House, the events got larger, necessitating their shift to bigger venues such as the Baha’i Centre, the Russian Community Centre, and for several years, St. Marks Church. This year, St. Marks Church is being sold, and the concert is returning to its original venue at Kits House.

MantraVani’s musical influences include Rock, Jazz, Gospel, R&B, World Music, Celtic, African, Indian Ragas, Kirtan, and Bhadjans, and combine elements of music, poetry, and dancing. Jerry DesVoignes One Voice Harmonic Choir, created in 1999, has often participated at Christmas/Solstice adding throat singing into the mix.

Previous luminaries with the MantraVani Orchestra have included Greg Birdsall, Don Xalaman, Gary Sill, Colin MacDonald, Steve Lazin, Budge Schachte “Shakti”, Itimar Erez, Stephen Cihekla, David “Deva” McVittie, Paul Armitage, Joseph Pepe Danza, Lyle Povah, Mike Hurst, Jeffrey Armstrong, Guy Williamson,  Nick Apivor, Chris MacIntire, Rico Rickets, Rajani Rock, Ashwin, Divakar Raetzen, Michael Sager, Tim Fanning, Magali Coustalin, Karen Boothroyd, Peter Mole, Alfredo Gomez, Carlos j.Costa, Gabriel Rose, Larry O'Gradik, Leonard Howell, Blaine Dunaway, Darryl Gillingham, Stephen Fox, Anand David, Phil L'Hirondell, and Lauren Honeyman.

This years MantraVani Orchestra features Jerry DesVoignes, Elio Rota, Sandra Nash, Shawn Soucy, Nathen Aswell, Duncan Hogg, plus beautiful contributions by colleagues Mahara Brenna, Paul Scott MC, Yodih Williamson, and a couple of musical cameo surprises!

To learn more, check out some of the Youtube videos of MantraVani, the One Voice Harmonic Choir and the Red Monkey Trio.

Join us at Kits Neighbourhood House at 7th and Vine in Vancouver, Saturday December 16th.
8pm – doors open at 7:30

Tickets at Banyen Books are $30, or $35 at the door.
Best to get tickets early as we always sell out.
In this intimate setting, Seating capacity is around 135!

In his invite, Jerry writes:

“Come join us, be showered with thousands of Rose Petals, Beautiful Voices and Joyous Celebration. We hope to see you there!”