Saturday, November 15, 2014, marks the release of the Avanti Chamber Singers’ third CD “Beauty is Before Me,” the fifth installment in the “Voices of Niagara” CD series, featuring works by local composers.
The release will occur in conjunction with the Avanti Chamber Singers’ (ACS) season-opening concert, Viva La Musica! Presenting compositions from 1600 to the present day, this concert is a celebration of the joy and power of music. Rising Toronto oboist Aidan Dugan will perform as the featured guest artist.
The CD is a collaborative project by ACS, Brock University’s student choirs, and the former Niagara Vocal Ensemble, all conducted by Harris Loewen. The sequence of works on the album flows through a variety of themes: the beauty of nature, the patron saint of music (St. Cecilia), the War of 1812, elegiac reflections, and a group of spirituals.
The occasion also marks the re-release of the first two CDs in the series, recorded by the Niagara Vocal Ensemble, an all-women’s ensemble that was active in the Niagara Region between 1991 and 2011. All CDs are available through ACS and the Department of Music at Brock University.
As with all five recordings in the “Voices of Niagara” CD series, the music on every track is written or arranged by composers with a Niagara connection, most recorded for the first time. Composers represented on this latest recording include Penny Blake, John Butler, the famous Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943), Erik Gero, Brock professors Peter Landey and Harris Loewen, Gail Poulsen, folk singer Stan Rogers, Matthew Tran-Adams, and Ronald Tremain (1923-98), Brock’s first Professor of Music.
The concert opens with a rousing fanfare written especially for the occasion, based on the familiar round “Viva La Musica.” The program includes works by the great Renaissance composers, Jacob Handl and Orlandus Lassus, as well as a variety of more modern pieces. Canadian composers (e.g. Stephen Chatman, Eleanor Daley, Ruth Watson Henderson) are well represented, and the concert also provides samples of works from the latest CD. Oboist Aidan Dugan will perform lyrical pieces by familiar 19th century composers Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann.
Conductor Harris Loewen states, “This latest album marks an exciting milestone in this multi-choir CD project that has been developed and released to the public over the last few years. I’m so extremely grateful for the fine and energetic musicianship that all the singers and instrumentalists have contributed in both concert and recording. It’s a truly wonderful choral legacy for the region.”
The Viva Voce Choral Series, presented by the Department of Music, is a key part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate in building connections between the community and Brock University.
Come and enjoy this choral celebration and CD release on Saturday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m., held at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, 31 Queenston Street, St. Catharines. Admission at the door is $25 for adults; $20 for seniors & students; $5 for the eyeGo program for high school students. A $5 discount is available for advance tickets (excluding eyeGO) and can be purchased at two St. Catharines locations: BookSmart (Scott & Vine Plaza) and Thorold Music (Glendale Avenue).