Malaspina Choir performs tribute to freedom

Freedom – to talk, to walk, to laugh, to be.

“How fortunate we are, here in Canada, to live in a place where we can move freely, think freely, make our own decisions and guide our own lives without fear of reprisal and mortal danger,” said Wade Noble, Malaspina Choir conductor.

In Canada we can speak our minds without being tortured or shot; we can walk down the street without fearing a bomb blast; we live without continuously looking down a rifle or handgun barrel, without being confined by barbed wire, or being divided from family and friends by walls. We can make choices, freely.

While Remembrance Day is a time for reflecting upon all those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom in Canada, on the tragedy and horror of war, it is also a time to celebrate our freedom and all it brings – love, romance, passion, humour. It is a time to cherish and honour freedom. It is also a time to reflect upon what it really means to be Canadian.

The Malaspina Choir presents A Canadian Remembrance Day Tribute Nov. 10, at the Evangelistic Tabernacle, in a program dedicated to life in Canada, from coast to coast, with songs, poetry readings, and music.

“I wanted to put together choral works by Canadian composers,” Noble said. “Each piece gives a snapshot of what life was like in the various parts of the country as it was developing.”

From Newfoundland fishing villages to logging settlements across the land, from the immigrant farming communities of the Prairies to political intrigue of the city, each song tells a story.

“One of Canada’s greatest composers was Healey Willan. We are presenting Three Marian Motets. They are very romantic and passionate love songs based on the Songs of Solomon. I absolutely adore them,” Noble said. “They are followed by the Tennyson Suite by B.C. composer Tobin Stokes. There is quite a bit of humour; in fact, Tobin has suggested that The Oak (narrated by Mitch Levine with Alisdair Money on cello) be recited with a bit of a Monty Python bend. The cello part punctuates the poem as it is read.”

Canadian stories include Feller from Fortune, and She’s like the Swallow, the Log Driver’s Waltz and Bye, Bye, Baby, a Doukhobor lullaby.

“While so many songs are based in Eastern Canada, The Grand Hotel gives a picture of early Vancouver life, of loggers on leave. And we are performing 1838, as arranged by Harry Freedman; it’s a little story about one of the more colourful moments in Canadian history – the ill-timed rebellion of William Lyon Mackenzie.”

Lest we forget, Noble created a very dramatic and soulful tribute to Canadian veterans, beginning with our national anthem, O Canada, followed by the poem For the Fallen, written by Laurence Binyon and read by Helen Fairbairn.

Sylvia Chow and Yi Zheng on violin, Manti Poon on viola and Alisdair Money on cello, perform the solemn, heart-wrenching and memorable Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. The familiar war-time poem In Flanders Fields will be read by Howard Bouey then sung as a choral work by the Malaspina Choir, leading the audience into The Last Post, a moment of silence, and Reveille, played by Bryn Badel.

The final work of the evening is the powerful Hymn to Freedom, composed by Oscar Peterson.

“It’s about dignity, universal love and sharing; it’s about freedom,” Noble said.

Join the Malaspina Choir at the Evangelistic Tabernacle. Tickets are available at the Port Theatre ticket centre, 754-8550 and at the door.

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