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A Winnipeg choir is heading east, where they will perform at the architectural marvel that is the Harpa concert hall in Iceland.

Espirit de Choeur has been preparing for the trip for quite some time, and will be performing a number of Canadian folk songs and songs inspired by Icelandic culture by local composer David R. Scott.

“It was always a dream to take this choir to Iceland,” Espirit de Choeur artistic director Valdine Anderson said. “I thought since a small portion of the choir is of Icelandic heritage, wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow channel some of that heritage and all of that culture that seeped into today’s music in Canada.”

Manitoba has the largest Icelandic population in the world outside of Iceland, according to Statistics Canada. Anderson says this allows the two regions to share a lot of materials, and any opportunity they get to exchange art is one they should seize.

Scott says this has been something both he and Anderson have been discussing for a number of years.

“Over a year ago now we started looking around for opportunities for funding and Valdine really took a great initiative in terms of applying for the choir to get funding to go, and then we worked together on a commission for me to work on a piece for the choir,” Scott said. “Then it all kind of snowballed from there.”

The choir applied to the Canada Council for the Arts for funding and were successful, with the condition that they receive an invitation from Iceland. They received that invitation from the president of the Icelandic National League of Iceland, an organization that encourages exchange between new-Iceland territories and the homeland.

They will be performing in one of the halls at Harpa in the capital city of Reykjavik, which sits right on Iceland’s west coast.

“Iceland is a small country but they have tons of choirs,” Anderson said. “I don’t know if our audience will be all tourists or if we’ll have a lot of choirs coming to hear us, either way I know there’s going to be a lot of exchanging of cultures and hopefully we can meet some choirs and get some music ideas from them to bring back to Canada.”

“Perhaps then we can host them here someday.”

The Canadian Ambassador for Iceland will hold a reception for the choir after their concert.

Espirit de Choeur will leave for Iceland Monday, Aug. 6.