Viva Chorale presents Dreams of North concert

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The Viva Chorale community choir is set to take listeners on an aural journey featuring the music of several northern locales in their fall/winter concert event, which is set for Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 at All Saints.

Dreams of North will explore music from places like Finland, Sweden and Norway as well as our own northern home in Canada. The choir will explore the beauty of winter, but it will also explore the longing to escape the dark and to head back towards the summer light.

“There is a mysterious and almost magical quality that comes to mind when I consider all things north,” Viva Chorale director Caroni Young said about crafting the program. “I imagine the northern lights and their rhythmic colour and shapes that change as quickly as the eye can take it in; the stillness that is unique to the moonlight on the first snow of winter. With these images in mind I went to explore the thoughts of composers who were also thinking of the North; musicians like me who were imagining what it was like, and those who live there and breathe the air.”

The concert begins near the Canadian geographic centre in Baker Lake, Nunavut, approximately 320 km inland from Hudson Bay. Viva Chorale will perform an arrangement of a traditional song from the area entitled Inuit Hunting Song by Derek Healey. The piece grows from a single voice in unison to 12 different vocal lines, sung simultaneously, that blend to create a stunning image of the North. 

“With the North, there is also a theme of the unknown and the desire to explore,” Young observed.

In this vein, the choir will perform a piece by Edward Elgar entitled My Love Dwelt in a Northern Land, based on the poem Romance by Scottish poet Andrew Lang. The piece was written in 1890 when the popularity of the North was on the rise and stories about it were considered romantic and mysterious. The choir will also perform a suite of pieces called Songs of the Prospector by Vancouver-based composer Stephen Chatman.

“In this set of songs, we see a different side of northern dreams as thousands of people believed they could turn their fortunes around by heading north and looking for gold,” Young explained.

The concert will feature the women of the choir in a movement from Sarah Quartel’s Snow Angel featuring cellist Jane Phillips, while the men will perform a fun piece entitled My Moustache. Another composition to listen for is Dan Forrest’s setting of the Ralph Waldo Emerson poem Alway Something Sings, with a theme of light and dark, which will feature the Salt Spring String Quartet.

Viva Chorale has also taken a step outside of the traditional choral idiom with a performance of a piece called North by the artist Sleeping at Last, arranged by George Chung. Young describes North as “a gorgeous piece with a beautiful message of family and perseverance.”

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Nov. 25. Tickets are available at Apple Photo or at the door.

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