Friday, January 13, 2012

Ring out the old; Ring in the new

2012 has creep-ed up on me, and as I look through my blog posting history of 2011, it's a surprise that google has allowed me to continue residency in this place. Perhaps a simple New Year's resolution would be to put out a post once a week, heck, even once a month would be an improvement!

Before I look at what is to come in 2012, let's look back at 2011, picking up somewhere in September.

It's been, to say the least, a very busy season. I've participated, either as a chorister or conductor, in seven different concert programs. One with Scona Chamber Singers, three with Da Camera Singers, and four with Pro Coro. Ok, I cheat a bit - Da Camera and Pro Coro collaborated on a concert the week before Christmas, and I just counted that one twice - but I had to double up rehearsals with the two different choirs, so it is fair to count it twice.

A very exciting year for all three choirs though, let's stat with the youngest, Scona Chamber Singers. this is our third full season as an ensemble in Edmonton - specializing in early music repertoire. We have a very close association now with Early Music Alberta, also in its fledgling state as a society, just a year and a half old. In October, we mounted a one to a part concert of the madrigals of Monteverdi and Gesualdo. It was a great collaborative effort from the five of us who sang. And a great reminder to me of just how difficult the music of Gesulado is! We were successful, two years in a row now, at securing a bit of grant money from the provincial arts granting organization, and continue to receive support from both my church concert series, as well as Early Music Alberta. I think, in due time, this ensemble will flourish - but it will continue to take some work.

Da Camera is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an ensemble. No, there are no original members in the choir anymore, however we are having a great time going through archive material, and notifying past members to come back in March to join us for a weekend of socializing, and most importantly, singing! Already, since September, we have performed three concerts. One complete a cappella concert of new music and past commissions of the choir, then a collaboration with Alberta Baroque Ensemble, and then the aforementioned collaboration with Pro Coro Canada.

Pro Coro Canada is having an exciting year as well - six concert with six different conductors. The first three were concerts that featured candidates for the position of Artistic Director of the choir. This was an absolutely fascinating process for me as a chorister in the choir. The opportunity to observe three different conductors styles and expertise was as much of a great an experience from a musical standpoint as it was professional development. I learned something from all of them, and took features of conducting style, repertoire selection, diction lessons, and rehearsal planning, and brought them with me to my own ensembles. It was invaluable as a conductor to be able to be a part of this. There is still an official gag order on the selection itself, but no matter which direction the choir takes, we will be in very good hands.

The rest of my choral season of 2012 will bring more memorable moments, and another extremely busy period for the next few months. First, Scona Chamber Singers will present a concert of music from the Sistine Chapel this coming Sunday. We will feature music of Allegri mostly, including a complete performance of his Missa 'che oggi il mio sole (as well as the famed Miserere Mei), but a few other great composers as well. We'll meet again in mid-April for a concert as part of the 2nd annual Early Music Festival, however, my involvement will be limited - more on that later. Pro Coro has concerts in mid-February and early April to round out their season, but the most involved work for me will be with Da Camera.

Our anniversary concert weekend is slated for the first weekend of March. We have invited all almuni members of the choir to join us for the chamber performance of Carmina Burana. The response has been great, and we expect around 90 singers for this performance. However, only a week before that, we will be performing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in a choral concert, with a few other local choirs, in a performance of the Poulenc Gloria, as well as works of Bach, Mendelssohn and Schubert. All this music needs to be learned in two months, or about eight rehearsals (including Carmina!) so needless to say, it's going to be busy. After that weekend is done, we revisit Rachmaninoff's All Night Vigil with Spiritus Chamber Choir of Calgary for two performance (one here, one there). At least that's not until May, so a few months to put that back in our ears. We performed it about six years ago, so it should come back fairly quickly.

AND (if I haven't mentioned this before) in mid-April, Kathleen and I will welcome our first child into the world. So ... 2012... Here we go! I hope you're ready!

1 comment:

Rai said...

Happy 2012! Sounds like you had an exciting year!