Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day!

Spring is trying really hard to come to Edmonton. We've had a week that felt like Summer, followed quickly by a week that felt like Winter. The rain/snow we received this last week was a welcome relief in many ways though, as we had been under an outdoor fire ban since the start of spring, and now it is lifted - at least for the time being. Drought conditions come very quickly now in the prairies, and unless we receive a good deal more rain in the coming months, things will dry up quickly for sure.

Many things have come to an end in April, including classes. All my marks have been submitted, and I just need to clean off my desk and then I can stay away from the college until late August!

The most significant thing to come to an end for me though is my time with the Richard Eaton Singers. After six years as Associate Conductor, we both felt that it was time to move in a different direction. I was hired initially as someone who could help the artistic director while he served as chair of the Department of Music, and then take an entire season as interim director during his sabbatical. Now that he is back with the choir full-time, it was time to return to a model where they offered a smaller choral scholarship and experience to a graduate student.

It has been an incredible experience for me. Conducting and singing in a chorus of over a hundred singers isn't for everyone, but where else would you get the opportunity to sing the majority of your concert with full orchestra, and tackle rep like Brahms Requiem, Verdi Requiem, Beethoven 9, even the choral version of 1812? I've grown a lot as a musician with this group, and take away valuable experience that many young conductors will never have.

Most of all, I will miss the people in the choir. Many of them have become quite close friends, and although I will still see them from time to time, not seeing them every Tuesday night will be a major change for me.

As you can see from the picture, I was sent off in style!

It will open up a spot in my schedule to take on something new, but for now, I will enjoy having another night a week to spend with my wife. No doubt I will drop in on the choir from time to time, and might even appear for one of their shows next year (It will be hard to hold me back from St. Matthew Passion....)

This week will be a busy one. My parents arrive tomorrow night for a week, and I have two concerts the next weekend while they are here, one in Calgary and the next day in Edmonton. The concert I'm conducting, along with the conductor and choristers of the Spiritus Chamber choir of Calgary, is a production of all double choir music. Highlights include Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir, and Jonathan Dove's "The Passing of the Year". Much of the concert we will repeat in Saskatoon on May 21st at the Podium conference.

It's going to be a great show - hope to see you there!

Here's the poster for the Edmonton show (click for a large image)

The Calgary information can be found here

And Saskatoon Podium 2010 Concert information here!

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