Elmira residents will have the chance to hear one of Canada’s most acclaimed choirs later this month when the Canadian Chamber Choir performs at St. James Lutheran Church on Jan. 21. Formed in 1999, the CCC is unlike any other group in the country in that it features singers from every region of Canada, many from smaller communities just like Elmira. “We give them an opportunity to have a place to form connections and build a network across the country,” said Julia Davids, artistic director for the CCC and who has been with the group since its inception.
Next Saturday’s concert will be the group’s last on their southwestern Ontario tour, which kicks off tomorrow (Sunday) with a performance in London. From there, the group will travel to Oakville, Kitchener and Guelph, ending in Elmira for an evening concert.
The group typically tours once or twice a year to various parts of the country, and relies solely on donors and workshop fees to fly their singers to their performances. Members are not paid to be in the choir and often have to sacrifice work or family time to participate.
“We do try to get around to every region of Canada, but as you can imagine it takes a little while and it’s a very expensive endeavour when you’re flying in all your singers from all over the country,” said Davids.
The program at St. James will run about 90 minutes and is one of the few full-length performances the CCC will give during their busy tour. It will include works by Canadian composers Eleanor Daley, Imant Raminsh and Orlando Gibbons, as well as several pieces by Elmira composer Jeff Enns.
“It’s just a great group and it feels very much like a family,” said Enns, who had a number of works commissioned by the CCC before joining their ranks about four years ago. He also works as the music coordinator at St. James and teaches music about one day a week.
“I’ve gotten to know everyone in the group quite well and they’ve all become very good friends. This is a great opportunity and it’s not very often that a choir like this visits our town.”
One of the pieces by Enns to be performed will be the tour premier of “She’s Like the Swallow,” a
new arrangement of the classic Canadian East Coast folk song.
The show will also include the world premier of a newly commissioned piece by Toronto composer Erik Ross called “Icarus in the Sea,” which tells the tale of Icarus, not as he rises too high to touch the sun, but after he has plummeted into the sea.
The piece was commissioned by an anonymous donor, and includes the poetry of Toronto’s Lorna Crozier.
“It’s a major work and it’s never been performed before,” said Davids.
“It was written specifically for our choir and we’ll be starting to learn it this weekend and getting to know it and hopefully really bringing it off the page for our audience.”
Anyone who loves music is encouraged to come out for the evening. Davids
said that even those who don’t share an interest in choral music will still find the evening to be an excellent display of music and song.
“It really showcases what breadth of music is being created in our country and the sort of background that people bring to their music,” she said.
“We have music that sounds like it’s from The Lord of the Rings, music that sounds more like traditional Latin pieces, and humourous dance poems set to music.
“Come prepared to laugh and cry and to have a great time.”
The Canadian Chamber Choir performs Jan. 21 at St. James Lutheran Church in Elmira located at 60 Arthur St. The show starts
at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are
$10 each or $5 for students.
For more information visit www.canadianchamberchoir.ca or call (519) 669-3315 for tickets.