8 years ago

Volume 3 Issue 4 - December 1997/January 1998

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Arts
  • Symphony
  • Choir
  • January
  • Performing
  • Classical
  • Orchestra

Th~ Height of the Choral

Th~ Height of the Choral Season BY LARRY BECKWITH It's difficult to know how to be "politically correct", when approaching this season, when choirs present concerts that promote the ideals of peace and fellowship. Suffice it to say that thousands of choristers have a busy month ahead of them, participating in,services, concerts, and carol sings. There's something about this time of year that draws the general public out to choral events. The following are a few highlights, but I stress that this is by no means an exhaustive list! High Park Girls' Choir: This fine group of singers, conducted by Ann Cooper Gay, Errol Gay and Judy Ginou, presents two concerts of choral music, entitled A Courtly Celebration orr December 6, 4:00 and 7:30pm, at Grace Church on-the-Hill. Concertsingers: This is a choir that's been around for a long time, consistently presenting well-organized, entertaining concerts. After a number of interim conductors since Jerzy Cichocki left the group, a few years ago, the choir is making great strides with their new, permanent conductor, Roger Bergs,(who, incidentally is also a composer.) He leads Concertsingers in a program called The Star of Bethlehem on December 7 at 3:00pm, at St. Thomas's Church. Lachan Jewish Chamber Choir: A Faith and Victory_ Chanukah Concert is led by the legendary cantor Ben Maissner at the Leah Posluns Theatre at 8:00pm on December 15. Toronto Chamber-Society: One of the most fascinating choral projects in the works, this month, is a collaboration between the Toronto Chamber Society, conducted by the remarkable David Fallis, and Dan~emakers, one of Canada's finest modern dance companies. They come together for four per:ormances of a new work entitled Song of Songs, with settmgs of texts from the Song of Songs by Palestrina, Monteverdi, Casals and Britten, and choreography from five members of Dancemakers. It all takes place at the du Maurier Theatre Centre on December 18, 19 & 20 at 8:00pm and the 21 st at 3:00pm. Don't miss it! Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir: This has been a busy and successful year for the TMYC and conductor Robert Cooper. They toured Italy in the summer and as a grand finale for 1997, they have invited John Rutter to lead them in The Magic of 01ristmas. Rutter's influence on choral music is immense and he has always had a special rapport with young people. The concert takes place at St. Paul's Anglican Church on December 21 at 7:30pm. \ Messiah, Messiah, Messiah, Messiah ........ !!!!!: Okay, this is a great work, but wow, what a lot of performances of Handel's cash cow, this year. You can hear the Mississauga Choral Society, the Mendelssohn Choir, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, the Studio de musique ancienne de Montreal Choir, the El ora Festival Singers, the St. Anne 's Choir, the Men and Boys of St. James Cathedral, the Mississauga Festival Choir and others, giving literally dozens of David Fa/lis, conductor, Toronto Chamber Society (and artistic director of the Toronto Consort) with Dancemakers 'Serge Bennathan PHOTO: MICHAEL SHAW performances of this Easter work that has become a Christmas classic. I'll make you a deal: you can go to Messiah, if you promise to go to at least one other choral concert, this month! -- That's only scratching the surface in terms of all the choral activity going on in December. Out of town, I recommend The Amabile Youth Singers, recent winners of the International Let The Peoples Sing competition, on December 7 at 2:30 and 7:30pm at First St. Andrew's Church in London and .Orillia's Cellar Singers, conducted by the inimitable Albert Greer, performing Bach's Christmas Oratorio at the Orillia Opera House on December 13 at 8:00pm. As usual choral activity drops off sharply in January. A choral ~ighlight in January is the Georgian Music Ensemble, Darbaz1, led by Alan Gasser. They are performing in the innovative Music Umbrella series on ianuary 23. I remind you now to pick up your tickets to one of the great choirs in the world, the Dale Warland Singers, coming to the Glenn Gould Studio on February 4. As you celebrate Chanukah or Christmas or the winter solstice, make sure you include a concert or two of choral music. On top of that, try singing yourself, whether it's getting involved in a local choir or getting your family to gather 'round the piano and hammer out a carol or two. It's fun! All the best to all wholenote readers for a peaceful and musical holiday season. .Larry Beckwith is the General Manager of the Ontario Choral Federation. For more information on the Federation and its activities, you can contact Larry at (416) 363-7488. The Federation is located at 100 Richmond Street East, Suite 200 and is open Monday'-Friday, 9-5. TORONTO'S ONLY COMPREHENSIVE MO~THLY CLASSICAL & CONTEMPORARY CONCERT LISTING SOURCE

lUESSIAJI UPDATE Last year we listed 18 performances of Handel's Messiah - this year we have 24, probably because our coverage extends beyond last year's. We have, for example, two performances in Mississauga, one in Markham, two in Elora by Noel Edison's Elora Festival Singers and three in Kitchener by the 42 year old MENNO Singers, the Mennonite Mass Choir and the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. These and the TSO's four performances with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir might be called the "symphonic interpretations". Others might be called the "period interpretations", using smaller orchestral and choral forces for a more nimble rendering of the complexities of the score. These include the Tafelmusik Orchestra and Choir, Les Violons du Roi with Le Studio de Musique Ancienne and the Choir of St. James' Cathedral with the Aradia Ensemble. Aradia, incidentally, just two days later will be presenting Caldara's I Vatidni di Pace, which they are describing as "a refreshing alternative to the Messiah"! Ann Cooper Gay, artistic director present A Courtly Celebration Come and enjoy an eclectic array of seasonal song from the 16th ro the 20th century. The 4:00p.m. concert features the younger members of our choir. The 7:30 concert features the concert and chamber choirs performing works by Canadian composers including Derek Holman & Donald Patriquin with a new work written by Marilyn Lightstone/arranged by Errol Gay. DECEMBER 6TH, 1997 GRACE CHURCH-ON-THE-HILL 300 LoNsoAI.E RoAD To ORDER TICKETS CALL: 245-8232 Centuries Opera Association presents Opera Magic '98 . * * * *~\ennese Nj * ~ * ** * W4r A spectacular evening with the best of Strauss,lehar, and Kalman Guest Artists: Gerlinde StrangemaiUl Mark DuBois · Gisele Fredette Bruce Kelly Centuries Opera Orchestra and Austrian Chorus, Conductor, William Shookhoff The George Weston Redtal Hall­ Ford Centre for the Perfonning Arts 5040 Yonge Street, North York Thursday, March 5, 1998 at 8:00p.m. Tickets: ,,. Call416-872-2222 FEATURING Victoria Scholars: An all male award winning ensemble-singing Medieval, Baroque, Romantic and Classical song - stunningly clear and precise! Village Harmony: An unorthodox, energetic Vermont Youth Choir singing World Music. 'Shape note' and original composition - unforgettable! Darbazl: Biting dissonance, complex blend creating a traditional Georgian soundscape - brooding, moody and sensitive! Wibijazz'n': Dynamic emotionally charged ensemble. A vocal range of Jazz, Pop, Funk and Gospel - outstanding! Toronto Choral Society: Joyous, grand choral sound of popular and traditional 59ng- heart warming! AF tival f 0 g Tickets: .00, .50, '2.00 /Students (pat Incl.) Group rates available ~ Call Ticket Maater (416) 870-8000 Proceeds in part to: The RP Research Foundation - Fighting Bllndnen TORONTO"S ONLY COMPREHENSIVE MONTHLY CLASSICAL & CONTEMPORARY CONCERT LISTING SOURCE

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