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Volume 27 Issue 6 | April 15 - May 27, 2022

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Vol 27 No. 6. Here’s some of it: “Growing up in a house full of riches” – the Kanneh-Masons; “As if the music knows what it is doing” – J.S. Bach; “Better experienced than described” – Women from Space; “Stories set in prehistoric times are notoriously difficult to pull off without invoking nervous laughter” – Orphan Song; “To this day when I look at an audience, there’s some part of me that sees a whole bunch of friendly teddy bears wearing bow-ties” – Boris Brott. …. etc


MIRIAM PALMER CHORAL SCENE As the Songbirds Return Sean Dixon Juliet Palmer How much did your initial ideas change/develop over the course of rehearsals? SD: The major change in rehearsal was that I revealed my sources to Juliet: i.e. when a bit of Neanderthal text had been derived from a common blackbird, I revealed that to her, so that she could explore those sounds on her own. Other birds that were revealed included the pied butcherbird, the hermit thrush, ivory-billed woodpecker, the Kaua’i ‘ō ‘ō bird and (not a bird) the humpback whale. JP: Connecting the actors directly with the sources – field recordings of birds and animals was a huge breakthrough and much more in keeping with our roots as human listeners and sound-makers. Musical notation has its benefits, but it can be a barrier to listening to the complexity of the world around us. Another breakthrough was realizing that the audience needed to see the performers creating the sound world vocally. They’re now only rarely making sound offstage. For me this underscores the act of storytelling that we’re embarked upon. We’re inventing a world with our voices. Orphan Song continues in the Main Space at Tarragon Theatre until April 24. Jennifer Parr is a Toronto-based director, dramaturge, fight director and acting coach, brought up from a young age on a rich mix of musicals, Shakespeare and new Canadian plays. DAVID PERLMAN choral tk It might as well be spring The WholeNote has been keeping track of the (mostly southern) Ontario choral scene for almost exactly 20 years, and during that time Ontario choirs have followed a predictable winter-to-spring ritual as predictable as swallows to Capistrano. December brings holiday fare, then it’s down to serious business. Choirs gear up over the course of the spring for one last big performance for the season, often involving their most ambitious or at least newest repertoire. After which, by early June at the latest, the choral tents get folded, the slightly more dog-eared scores get carefully stored, and it’s hugs all round and fond farewells until the fall. As a small part of that predictable ritual, for over two decades, dozens and dozens of Ontario choirs have signed up for The new page tk WholeNote’s annual “Canary Pages Directory of Choirs.” First published in May 2003 as our ”Focus on the Choral Scene,” including just over one hundred choirs, it became an annual feature of our May print edition, eventually expanding to include year-round updates on our website. Almost immediately, choirs started using it to describe themselves to prospective choristers: the repertoire they like, where and and how often they rehearse; audition requirements if any, and how often they perform. It became like an annual snapshot of the choral community gathered together – a reminder of how the choral community is more than the sum of its parts. A reliable spring ritual: that is, until COVID struck, and choral music was the first casualty, going from the euphoria of drawing collective breath and turning it into music into bewildered masked isolation when the air breathed to sing together became lethal. Granted, many choirs and their members took a deep dive into virtual congregating – re-inventing not just how they could reach their audiences but in how they could continue to gather to rehearse. But for many individual choir members, the virtual work-arounds, once the novelty wore off, only served to emphasize what had been lost. The first to be silenced, so too choirs have been the last to return to something approximating the normal, because feeling safe to return 'A Love Song To Toronto' 'A Love Song To Toronto' A celebration of Claude Vivier's A celebration music featuring of Claude piano, Vivier's percussion, music featuring vocals and piano, dance percussion, vocals and dance April 28, 2022 April 28, 2022 8 PM 8 PM St. Andrew's Church St. Andrew's Church Toronto Toronto Buy Tickets at: Buy Tickets at: Co-produced by Co-produced by 20 | April 15 - May 27, 2022 20 | April 15 - May 27, 2022

is something every individual choir member has had to make for themselves. But there are encouraging signs that it’s turning round – even if not necessarily into the same predictable patterns as before. Look at the ads and listings in this issue and you will see signs of this turnaround. If one includes opera and music theatre productions that include ensemble singing and full-sized choruses, I count at least 18 choral concerts listed, which is 18 more than this time last year! The choices choirs are making in regard to audience capacity and safety protocols are interesting. Some choirs are gratefully selling every ticket the new protocols will allow them to. Some are offering combinations of full-capacity and reduced capacity events. Several are sticking to offering only reduced capacity performances, some are sticking to saying that, no matter what the province allows, their audiences are still “requested to be fully vaccinated and masked”; some are, notably, offering free tickets for vaccinated children accompanied by an adult. The list goes on. But whatever decisions they are making, most have one thing in common: they are consulting with their choristers, volunteers and audiences about what they think. And if that’s the “new normal,” bring it on! Meanwhile on our website ( the choirs are coming home to roost! Which for us is as hopeful as it gets. continues May 19 - 23 | TORONTO | 19 - 23 mai CHORAL CONFERENCE & FESTIVAL CONGRÈS ET FESTIVAL CHORAL ON SALE NOW! National Youth Choir of Canada Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble Jason Max Ferdinand Singers Exultate Chamber Singers Canadian Men's Chorus Shallaway Youth Choir Winnipeg Boys' Choir Toronto Mass Choir Dead of Winter Prairie Voices Singing Out WWW.PODIUM2022.CA John Abberger, Artistic Director MAY 13–15, 2022 TORONTO BACH FESTIVAL WE’RE BACH! There is something for everyone with our 4-concert festival, including the Festival debut of John Butt, one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the music of Bach. SAV E OVER 10% Grab Your Early Bird Festival Pass for the entire line up for only 9! TORONTOBACHFESTIVAL.ORG April 15 - May 27, 2022 | 21

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)