A vocal trio from Edmonton is joining with Malaspina Choir to create “a not so silent night.”
The singers behind the collaboration are Kaden Forsberg, Taylor Fawcett and Laren Steppler who make up the “popera” group Volare Tenors.
The trio formed in June 2020 in the midst of a pandemic, which might seem counterintuitive, but they forged ahead to craft vocal arrangements, write choral parts, orchestrate their parts and collaborated with choirs where they planned to tour.
“For all of us, the tradition of music around Christmas is a big deal and we really explore that idea and, particularly, making music together, which is why we have these wonderful choirs on board for the tour,” Fawcett said. “So we explore the traditional Christmas hymns, secular and fun Christmas music that we’re all familiar with, and a little bit of getting to know us as a group.”
Forsberg and Fawcett are University of Victoria alumni and the Not So Silent Night tour’s stops are where the two have lived, studied and worked. Nanaimo is a “bit of a homecoming” because, while studying in Victoria, many of their early performance opportunities were up Island.
Collaborative relationships continue being forged with choirs in communities on the tour, which started in November in southern Alberta.
“We use all-original arrangements, so back in the summer, we created these choral arrangements and made up the tracks and contacted the choirs we wanted to work with,” Fawcett said.
Collaboration and consultation between choirs and Volare Tenors is done largely through online meetings as the show dates approach.
“Then we rehearse the day of, or ideally a little bit before with the choir, but oftentimes day of, we meet the choir, get to know them, get to rehearse the material with them and then do the concert,” Fawcett said.
The arrangement works with only occasional hiccups.
“We have had to make adjustments to arrangements before, but we also work with a calibre of choirs that we have full confidence in and it hasn’t steered us wrong yet,” he said.
The trio choreographs dance with their musical arrangements. The trio members bring together a wide range of talents from their varied musical experience, which includes Fawcett’s and Forsberg’s backgrounds in musical theatre.
“When you’re a musical theatre performer, of course, you find yourself dancing quite a bit and that’s something we really enjoy and also wanted to bring to this group,” Fawcett said. “So this tour, in particular … is really the introduction for the choreography that we’ve always envisioned for this group. We’ve collaborated with a musical theatre choreographer we’ve worked with before and we’re absolutely thrilled about what it brings to the performance in terms of vitality and dynamics.”
Volare Tenors and Malaspina Choir perform A Not so Silent Night at St. Andrew’s United Church, 311 Fitzwilliam St. Thursday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit http://volaretenors.com.