A pair of choirs from very different parts of the world are visiting Canada for the first time this month and they both have Nanaimo on their itineraries.
Echology, from the University of Newcastle in Australia, and Slovakia’s Ad Una Corda choirs are in Powell River for the International Choral Kathaumixw. After the biennial choir festival wraps up on Saturday, a handful of the 21 participating groups are taking the opportunity to tour the province.
On Monday, July 9, that tour brings Echology and Ad Una Corda to Nanaimo’s Christ Community Church. The Malaspina Choir is sponsoring the show and billeting members of Echology during their stay.
“We’ve done this now for many years and each year the choirs that come are fantastically good. So it’s a nice opportunity for Nanaimo audiences to experience choirs form around the world,” said Lionel Tanod, Malaspina Choir musical director.
Echology will perform material from a range of places and times, as well as original compositions. Choir manager Phillippa Miskiewicz said in an e-mail that the group began as a chamber choir, but after winning a televised pop music contest they have kept a “very eclectic repertoire.”
“We are very fortunate to have a group of Indigenous students with us, who have written some great music that weaves together their traditional music with contemporary composition techniques. We also have a few pop songs,” Miskiewicz said.
“In a program that contains original compositions by our choir members, a 1500s Praetorius two-choir piece, a jazz version of What Shall we do with the Drunken Sailor and the Jackson 5’s I Want you Back, we anticipate we will take our audience on a glorious musical ride.”
Ad Una Corda dates back to the 1800s. In the mid-20th century the group faced religious persecution at the hands of the Communist government. The ensemble will sing sacred and folk pieces from the Renaissance and early Baroque period to the modern age.
“The priority is making the performance pleasant to the ear and varied. Also, we always try to include pieces by Slovak composers from our region that might be unfamiliar to the audience along with choral masterpieces popular worldwide,” conductor Marian Sipos said via e-mail.
He added, “We will do our best to share with the audience our perception of choral singing and music. I hope that everyone will hear something new and perhaps something they enjoy.”
Sipos said his group hasn’t played in North America since 1999 and he’s looking forward to making his Canadian debut.
“Having been in choirs going around the world myself, I know how exciting that is. So I think for them it’s really a unique experience for the first time they’ve come out to this part of the world,” Tanod said.
“I always look forward to these concerts because they do bring a different choral experience to the city.”
WHAT’S ON … Australia’s Echology and Slovakia’s Ad Una Corda choirs perform at Christ Community Church, 2221 Bowen Rd., on Monday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, free for children under 12. Available at the door.