Commissions blossom into world premieres at the upcoming Esprit Singers concert.  

“Songs of Spring” is a brand new work by internationally renowned Canadian composer Sarah Quartel. 



A choir favourite, Quartel’s music has been performed regularly over the years by Esprit Singers. So, when choir president and member Trudy Blight requested a new commission, Quartel seemed an ideal fit.  

“Trudy just had this wonderful idea of creating a piece to honour the idea of sisterhood,” says Esprit conductor and artistic director Valdine Anderson.  

Coming from a large family, Blight wanted to not only honour her own sisters, but also the sisterhood of the treble-voiced choir and the joy of singing together.  

The idea of creating a piece around that theme and all of its manifestations immediately resonated with Quartel, given her own extensive background as a chorister. 

“That was my experience,” says the composer. “I had these experiences in choral communities where singing beside people suddenly brought them closer in relationship to you.”  

When it came to choosing an appropriate text, Quartel wanted to take a more nuanced approach, rather than being “hit over the head” with the idea of sisters and sisterhood.  

She ultimately settled on three poems by Sara Teasdale, that reference the months of spring (April, May and June), but also, more subtly, themes of sisterhood, according to Quartel.  

“Themes of powerful women experiencing nature, experiencing relationships,” she says. “Using all of these things to combat the stresses of life and bring them together.” 

“Songs of Spring” will premiere in the concert of the same name on Sunday, May 5 at Westworth United Church. Another commission by Ron Paley, plus music of Gustav Holst and 4 choral works inspired by the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou” are also on the program. 

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