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Volume 29 Issue 1 | September 2023

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Bridges & intersections: Intersections of all kinds in the issue: the once and future Rex; philanthropy and music (Azrieli's AMPs); music and dance (TMChoir & Citadel + Compagnie); Baroque & Romantic (Tafelmusik's Beethoven). also Hugh's Room crosses the Don; DISCoveries looks at the first of fall's arrivals; this single-month September issue (Vol. 29, no.1) bridges summer & fall, and puts us on course for regular bimonthly issues (Oct/Nov; Dec/Jan; Feb/Mar, etc) for the rest of Volume 29. Welcome back.

Lesley Bouza Is there

Lesley Bouza Is there anything it’s not good for? The only thing that comes to mind for me is that you need to be very aware of your technique and how your sound fits into an ensemble that large. You don’t have the same feedback of hearing yourself as in a smaller ensemble, so the temptation to push your sound out to be able to hear yourself better is very strong and can lead to vocal fatigue quite quickly; especially with some of the repertoire that you encounter in this type of choir … Beethoven’s 9th, Carmina Burana … other large scale works with a lot of sustained fortissimo singing. MARGOT DALEY What does chamber singing offer that a big choir cannot? The opportunity to prepare music in very detailed ways. Often you’re singing only a few voices to a part, or, as in the case with TMSingers’ 2022 performance of Path of Miracles, even one to a part. You need to come prepared and have the confidence to hold down your part, despite everything else that might be going on – multiple tonalities and rhythms at the same time; singing in various languages, portraying different characters; sensitivity to the style of the music. Professional choristers in chamber choirs get to sing so many different genres of music within our art form, and it’s so satisfying to switch from music that was written 200 years ago in German to music that was written last month in Arabic. Is the camaraderie different? In these choirs you can really feel how each member contributes to the team. This leads to discussions of how to interpret the music. Of course the conductor has the final say, but the singers can make choices that contribute to the interpretation in Elmer Iseler Singers Lydia Adams, C.M. Conductor and Artistic Director 45th Concert Season 2023-2024 A Constellation of Radiant Choral Light Subscriptions available for three Toronto Concerts: October 28, 2023: Celestial Light premiere by Sid Robinovich December 8, 2023: Messiah by G.F. Handel special guests the VIVA Chamber Singers and the Amadeus Choir, orchestra and soloists April 20, 2024: Triple Choir Splendour: Sonic Light with the VIVA Chamber Singers and the new Chroma Vocal Ensemble SCAN QR CODE FOR TICKETS 416-217-0537 a real way as well. JS [Jean-Sébastien Vallée] is a particularly collaborative conductor to sing for; he works with us as a member of the ensemble, not just its leader. What are you most looking forward to in this TMSingers revival (apart from being paid)? I have been a member of the paid, professional core of the TMChoir for a long time, but that group has existed almost entirely to support the larger choir: a piece or two in a TMChoir concert; rare performances at weddings or other events. The professional choristers within The TMChoir have long been some of the most skilled musicians that I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and it’s wonderful to get our own concerts, singing challenging music, showcasing our solo abilities and contributing to the vibrant chamber music scene in Toronto. It’s not just a “revival” in the sense of planning concerts and hiring singers. The leadership of the TMChoir has listened to us describe the challenges that professional choristers working in and around this city have had for a long time. Being a professional chorister feels a bit like the Wild West; we are not eligible to be a part of any kind of union or musicians association, and so we rely on negotiations with the organizations who contract us to create positive and respectful working environments. The creative concerts that we’ve gotten to perform so far – The Little Match Girl Passion and The Pilgrim’s Way – are the icing on the cake. In particular Little Match Girl really stayed with the audience and felt like a concert which was contributing to an important conversation in our city. I like to think our taking a risk in weighing in on the mental health and housing crises in this city may have made a difference in some way. And this upcoming collaboration with Citadel? I am thrilled. Art is uplifted when different mediums, genres and cultures come together. If this art form is to survive I think we need to present it in ways that resonate with audiences that may not be drawn to the more traditional choral aesthetic. Dance is a no-brainer to pair with early music; so much of this music is built upon a foundation of dance forms. I can’t wait to see what C+C brings to incredible works that are always challenging and fun to sing: but they’ve been performed many. many times in this city in a conventional way. Adding dance sheds a new light on timeless work and adds relevance for a modern audience. For Laurence Lemieux, Citadel Dance’s artistic director, the hard work for Handel’s Dixit Dominus still lies ahead. “We started on the Handel in studio in June,” she says, “but it’s a big work, so a complex challenge. I’ve given myself till September 1 on the choreography, then we have September to rehearse, separate from the choir, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir: Sacred Music for a Sacred Space, April 2021 until the week of the show. We get three rehearsals together in the hall to work on timing – crucial for dancers. We take our overall tempos from the musicians, but after that certain things become non-negotiable. Tiny changes in tempo interfere with the musclememory practice dancers depend on to fulfill our intentions.” For Bach’s Christ lag in Todesbanden, which she will dance solo, as she does in the 2021 filmed collaboration, the hardest work, the emotional heavy lifting, has already been done. “People were dying all around and I was working in isolation. Overwhelming as it was, it became an important journey to express. The sorrow of the Virgin Mary with a dying son became an even deeper sorrow, for all those lives being lost. If I had been an angel, I’d have been very busy, with the passing of all those souls.” David Perlman can be reached at JEREMY MIMNAGH 18 | September 2023

MAINLY CLUBS Hugh’s NEW Room COLIN STORY In March of 2020 – while COVID anxiety was swirling through Toronto, but just before lockdown protocols were announced and enacted – news broke that Hugh’s Room Live would be leaving their Dundas West location, having failed to come to terms with their landlord in lease negotiations. It was a major blow for the city’s club scene. On the move from Dundas W. to east of the Don; Broadview Place, a heritage building, was designed by E.J. Lennox, the same Toronto architect who designed Old City Hall and Casa Loma. In 2001, Richard Carson opened Hugh’s Room on Dundas West, naming it in memory of his brother Hugh, a former folk musician who had dreamed of opening his own performance venue before his death from cancer in 1999. It had been an important venue, with programming that emphasized folk, blues and roots music, including performances from Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot. Grim though the news seemed, especially in the context of other pandemic-venue closures, the Hugh’s Room Live organization continued to present live music starting in 2021, albeit on other stages; 3030 Dundas, the Tranzac, Paradise Theatre and Revival have all functioned as partner venues to the organization, playing host to Hugh’s Room Live shows. HUGH'S ROOM September 2023 | 19

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