By KIRSTEN BOLTON
A beautiful close to the ArtSpring Presents 2022/23 season comes in the ethereal form of the Elektra Women’s Choir on the afternoon of Sunday, May 28.
Founded in Vancouver in 1987, Elektra has long been a leader among women’s choirs. Under the direction of artistic director and renowned choral conductor Morna Edmundson, over 200 singers whose ages have ranged from 17 to 79 have been members of this national prize-winning ensemble.
The 45-voice choir is known for its adventurous programming, seeking out music written specifically for women and frequently commissioning new works.
“Our mandate is to inspire and lead in the choral art form through excellence in performance and the creation, exploration and celebration of women’s repertoire,” explains Edmundson.
For its performance at ArtSpring, the choir will take audience members through a poetic program including the music of Edvard Grieg and a Shakespearian interpretation of text from As You Like It set to music by piano accompanist Stephen Smith.
Starting the concert will be Elektra’s June 2022 release of Snewíyalh tl’a Staḵw (Teachings of the Water), with a score commissioned from Canadian composer T. Patrick Carrabré. This three-year-long collaborative project with Coast Salish First Nations was conceived by co-curator and ethnomusicologist Jeanette Gallant and is a musical exploration of water teachings in First Nations cultures.
Also being presented is Elektra’s most ambitious commissioning project to date: The Lost Words: A Spell Book. Ten Canadian composers were sent two spells each from the bestselling book celebrating nature, children and language by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Elektra takes on The Bird Suite, compositions under such enchanting names as Wren, Raven, Kingfisher and Lark.
In 2010 and again in 2017 the choir took first place in the Equal Voices – women’s category of the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs. Prior to 2010, the choir was awarded first prize for women’s choirs in four consecutive rounds of the biennial CBC National Choral Competition, as well as several major prizes for contemporary music performance.
While this performance ends the official ArtSpring Presents season for this year, summer will still see concerts, festivals, a theatre camp and the always popular Treasure Fair. The 2023/24 season will be announced early September.
Thank you to Regan Hunt, and Mark and Debbi Toole for sponsoring this performance.
Tickets for the May 28 show, which begins at 2:30 p.m., are on sale at tickets.artspring.ca.