2 years ago

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020

  • Text
  • Ensemble
  • Classical
  • Concerts
  • Singers
  • Choral
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Musical
  • September
  • Choir
Choral Scene: Uncharted territory: three choirs finding paths forward; Music Theatre: Loose Tea on the boil with Alaina Viau’s Dead Reckoning; In with the New: what happens to soundart when climate change meets COVID-19; Call to action: diversity, accountability, and reform in post-secondary jazz studies; 9th Annual TIFF Tips: a filmfest like no other; Remembering: Leon Fleisher; DISCoveries: a NY state of mind; 25th anniversary stroll-through; and more. Online in flip through here, and on stands commencing Tues SEP 1.

Titled “Inti Ukana: A

Titled “Inti Ukana: A Latin American Tapestry” it includes guests Laura Fernandez, Antonio Mata and Bernardo Padrón. “We just couldn’t give up! And have been working intently over the summer through Zoom practice sessions,” says conductor Fraser. “And we expect this October performance to be every bit as exciting as if we were all in one place.” The main highlight is Misa Criolla by the Argentine composer Ariel Ramírez, and Cantemos will perform Apamuy Shungo, a traditional yumbo from Ecuador – a style named after the Yumbo people who came to live in the Sacred Valley of Tulipe around 800 B.C.E. It is sung in Quichua, one of the indigenous languages spoken in Ecuador. As well, the ensemble offers the Venezuelan number Mare-Mare, which, while not indigenous, tells about the nomadic Kariña tribe that travelled through what is now Venezuela and the Caribbean. “Digital Performance, free, donations welcome” the announcement says. Definitely a sign of the times. . Reaching Out Reaching Out Through Music (ROTM) executive director Virginia Gallop Evoy provided some thoughts by email to me about the adaptations the music program has made over the last few months. ROTM is an accessible music program run out of St. James Town, in Toronto’s downtown core. Normally, this super-dense neighbourhood full of high-rises brings kids together to learn out of The Church of St Peter and St Simon-the-Apostle. The pandemic shutdown didn’t mean a shutdown of their programming. “Our private instrumental lessons carried on with minimal interruption,” she shares. The St. James Town Children’s Choir and ukulele group followed with online rehearsals starting in May. “Our overriding goal was to keep our children and families engaged, musically and socially.” Using technology and video, the talented teachers of the program have kept the music going. And there’s more to come with new connections and collaborations. Early in July, ROTM was able to put together a virtual recital. “With some coaching and guidance, our choristers and music students learned how to record themselves, and the various pieces were synchronized and assembled by a fabulous video editor,” shares Gallop Evoy. The charming visual of a group of kids strumming away on their ukuleles on video makes it hard not to smile. The added advantage to more performances moving to a digital sphere is that they are recorded and available for enjoyment time and time again and can even reach audiences not usually accessible. ROTM is also reaching out into their local community to collaborate with visual arts programs in St. James Town. Gallop Evoy says, “The plan is for the sounds of our choir to be combined with their children’s related artwork to create an arresting video performance. We hope this initial collaboration will be the beginning of many fruitful collaborative endeavours in the community.” For a taste of how ROTM is accomplishing this, catch the Reaching Out Through Music virtual recital on YouTube. The St. James Town Choir, ukulele students, vocal students and piano students perform with appearances by special guests including tenor Asitha Tennekoon, ukulele teacher Tom Collins, pianist Jean-Luc Therrien, jazz performer and choir conductor Jacqueline Teh, pianist John Sheard and much more! The collaborative effort has been really important to Upper Canada Choristers as well. “The biggest challenge for us in preparing for this new format is technological,” Evan Fraser said. “We are blessed by our longtime affiliation with Grace Church on-the-Hill. They too are committed to community service and have agreed to be our partners moving forward to provide a place for us to connect to community venues through Zoom and share pre-recorded performances as well as do live, interactive sing-alongs.” The upcoming digital performance that UCC has planned will incorporate pre-recorded video and some livestreaming. UCC even plans to have some singers and instrumentalists in person, masked and socially distant at the church. Creating Community More choirs may turn to this hybrid model in the coming season. Shawn Grenke, artistic director of the Achill Choral Society, shares a bit about what he has planned for Christmas: “We are going to be Reaching Out Through Music's virtual recital, in early July - which you can still enjoy online! doing an online concert with past archival repertoire. We will have a number of choir members do video introductions to the pieces from their home, and as well, if allowed, record a few pieces in small groups, wearing masks and socially distant.” The loss of the community element of music is a reminder that these organizations aren’t just internally focused, every performing arts organization exists to create community. “The singers in Achill desperately miss the community of music making,” shares Grenke, “and as well, the social element that is such a huge part of being in a choir and sharing the love of choral music.” But between now and the next set of digital/hybrid performances they will be figuring a way back into the communal sharing, rehearsals and creation of music. “I’m also deeply aware of the loneliness COVID-19 has caused our Achill Choir community,” says Grenke. “It was a major part of the singers’ weekly routine – and it still will be in September… it will just look different.” Achill and every other choir across the region is having to grapple with these same concerns in order to forge ahead. “We have to be creative and willing to try new things if we are to survive” Evan Fraser says. “We don’t have the option of putting our operations on hold until the situation improves,” states Gallop Evoy. “The community needs us now more than ever… the prospects for the future of our organization seem bright.” So off we go to the start of the 2020/2021 season … just a bit different. Follow Brian on Twitter @bjchang. Send info/media/tips to Dear Friends and Supporters of the Tallis Choir, Normally at this time of year we would be gearing up for our new season and sharing the details of our concert series with you. As we all know, things are different this year. However, we want you to know that we, the Tallis Choir, are looking forward to getting back to singing and sharing our music with all of you. Until that time, we offer you, and also our friends at The WholeNote Magazine, our very best wishes for your continued safety and good health. Stay well. Peter Mahon Artistic Director 22 | September 2020

18th Annual Directory of Choirs

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)