An upcoming choral performance will bring together the Brock University Choir, Avanti Chamber Singers and Sora Signers under the leadership of a guest conductor.
As part of the 2022 Walker Cultural Leader Series, the Department of Music is welcoming Jace Kaholokula Saplan, who will conduct The Songs We Sing, The Land We Stand On: Decolonizing our Music-Making on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Recital Hall.
During their time together, Saplan — a Kanaka Maoli advocate, artist, educator and culture bearer — aims to share their knowledge and research with the choral groups and create a space of understanding and artistic exploration.
Saplan currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music Learning and Teaching and Choral Conducting at Arizona State University (ASU). They oversee the graduate program in choral conducting, conduct the ASU Concert Choir, and teach courses in choral literature and pedagogy that weave decolonial and critical theories with communal vocal practice.
Their research focuses on the performance practice of Pasifika choral traditions and Queen Lili’uokalani’s choral compositions, while using decolonial approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion in the choral classroom. Saplan also works in the intersections of choral pedagogy, gender and sexuality in communities of colour, addressing trauma-informed practice and boundary building with Black, Brown, Indigenous and Asian music educators.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Jace Kaholokula Saplan to our Brock campus this week and to learn about how our art form might be expanded to welcome richer and more diverse approaches to choral singing,” says Associate Professor of Music Rachel Rensink-Hoff.
During Saplan’s residency at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, both Brock and community choirs will explore the intricate connections and responsibilities associated with choral practices, specifically focusing on Indigenous ties to the choral arts.
“I look forward to the building of a beloved community with the choral artists of Ontario. Together we will understand the diverse complexities that root forth when the choral arts are intersected with Native and Indigenous ways of being,” says Saplan. “I hope to weave our time together with an empathetic understanding of the power of our art form, and an instilled responsibility of how we consume and propagate the craft — all while joyfully singing.”
In anticipation of the choirs’ performance with Saplan, Rensink-Hoff added, “We look forward to being challenged and inspired, and to sharing our learning with the community on Friday evening in a presentation of Indigenous Hawaiian story and song.”
Attendance to the lecture-performance is free, but tickets must be reserved through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre website.