This Sunday, May 1st at 3:00pm at the Crescent Arts Centre at 525 Wardlaw Avenue, the Winnipeg Singers will be triumphantly returning to the concert stage for a concert that they are calling “ Now is the time for Maying---We Rise Again.”
The concert will feature a variety of composers and different styles of choral music from musicians such as the 16th century composers Thomas Morley, and Thomas Weelkes; to the music of Elgar and Poulenc; and modern compositions from Canadian composers Sid Robinovitch, Stephen Chatman, Andrew Balfour and Stephanie Martin.
After postponing their March concert due to the COVID craziness the members of the Winnipeg singers are very much looking forward to performing live and in person. As Winnipeg Singers choir member Jodie Borle says, “What this concert means is this renewal, this rebirth, this rising from the proverbial ashes like a phoenix…it’s been a long time coming, we have not had a live performance since I believe February of 2020.”
One of the many highlights of this Sunday’s concert is that the Winnipeg Singers will be performing a work written for them by the great Winnipeg composer Sid Robinovitch. Robinovitch’s “Three Songs From a Manitoba Songbook,” takes well known melodies from the Province, and re-invents them through a different musical prism. “It’s a bit tricky with the time signatures that he makes use of, and with the SATB combined….it takes something very familiar and it just puts it on its head a little bit,” says Borle.
These pieces are also a bit on Manitoba history. Bruce Waldie is President of the Winnipeg Singers and is quick to point out, “the Manitoba school song book was a brilliant creation that had a very long history in Manitoba. It was used in all Manitoba schools officially from the 40s probably until the very early 70s. Anyone who was in school during those years would recognize these songs.”
The music of B.C. composer Stephen Chatman will also be performed on this Sunday’s concert. Chatman’s choral music has been a staple on choral programs here in Canada for decades. “It takes us out of our comfort zone in a very good way,” states Borle... “It’s lighthearted, it’s fun…clearly when you hear it, you know it does not take itself seriously… and it’s just a way for choirs to engage, really personally with the audience.”
Andrew Balfour is a former Winnipegger who is now living in Toronto. Balfour has very close ties still to the Winnipeg community, in particular his association with the Winnipeg choir Dead of Winter, formally known as Camerta Nova. The Winnipeg singers will be performing his piece “Spirit Chant.” As Borle explains, “the piece sort of moves in waves and themes, and just keeps building throughout the entire work.
The ensemble will be joined by three outstanding extra musicians. Winnipeg Symphony oboe player Robin McMillan will be joining the group in a performance of Canadian composer Stephanie Martin’s piece “Hear me.” The Winnipeg Singers will also be joined by Cary Denby piano, and Cameron Denby on percussion.
This is a concert that is sure to have something for everybody, and if you cannot attend the concert on Sunday, the Winnipeg Singers will be recording the concert and making it available on their website. The video performance will be made available on May 15th, and will be available to watch online until May 30th.
The Winnipeg Singers have surly risen from the ashes, and are now taking flight in the grandest way possible with this upcoming concert!
The concert takes place this Sunday, May 1st at 3:00pm at the Crescent Arts Centre at 525 Wardlaw Avenue.