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Photo by Diana Lam.

A musical afternoon in paradisum

By Alex Binkley on May 3, 2016

The Capital Chamber Choir and the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra teamed up to present a concert at St. Joseph’s Church on May 1 that felt like a church service set entirely to music.

The title of the concert and the opening presentation by the Choir was In Paradisum, an Eriks Esenvalds composition which means “In Paradise”. It set the tone for the Choir’s other presentation, Missa Pax. After the intermission, the choir and Thirteen Strings combined to present Triptych and Stabat Mater. All four pieces have strong religious elements, with themes of yearning for peace and for an end to conflicts.

The music was inspiring and contemplative at the same time. The prolonged standing ovation that greeted the 16 singers in the Choir, Artistic Director Jamie Loback and the musicians in Thirteen Strings led by Concert Master Manuela Milani at the end of the performance showed how much their efforts were appreciated by the several hundred in attendance on a damp Sunday afternoon.

Photo by Greg Clarke

Photo by Greg Clarke

The Choir performs well as a group, and individual members also showed impressive vocal skills. Alison Hamer and Tracy Stabback in Missa Pax, Jennifer Bernston’s soaring solo in Triptych and Amy Desrosiers in Stabat Mater all filled the vast expanse of St. Joseph’s with their voices.

It was the Choir’s end of season concert, but it has a busy summer planned before the start of its 2016-17 season including the production of its first official album scheduled for release in 2017. It will also be performing with the National Arts Centre orchestra in 2017.

For more details on the Choir’s activities, check its website. If you enjoy listening to many voices joined in song, the choir is well worth taking in.

Meanwhile Thirteen Strings is wrapping up its 40th season. It has a concert scheduled for May 27-29 at Dominion Chalmers United Church with Opera Lyra to present Joseph Haydn’s L’iola disabitata. The orchestra is deserving of the many accolades it has earned over the years. 

The four pieces in the concert were all written by living composers, who explained in the notes the thinking and inspiration that went into their works. Missa Pax was written by Timothy Corlis, Triptych by Tarik O’Regan and Stabat Mater by Paul Mealor. Both Esenvalds and Mealor dedicated their compositions to their grandparents.

The program notes also included the Latin, English and French lyrics for In Paradisum, Missa Pax and Stabat Mater.