Spring has arrived again and with it the upcoming season of choral offerings presented by Seton Cantata Choir. The 35-voice ensemble is rehearsing intensely for its two spring concerts, the first at St. James United Church in Antigonish on Saturday, May 27 at 3 p.m. and the second at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts in Halifax on Sunday, May 28 at 7 pm.
Choral concerts, however, do not just “happen” and for every choral season this challenge of finding a fresh theme falls to Artistic Director Garth MacPhee. This year he has selected Srul Irving Glick’s dramatic song-cycle, “Triumph of the Spirit”, as the choral centrepiece.
This work was inspired in part by the pain and suffering experienced by Glick who was shot while leaving his synagogue in Toronto following a choir rehearsal. It serves as a testimony to both faith and optimism as we face the many challenges in our daily lives.
Two other choral works, “Toward the Unknown Region” by R. Vaughan Williams, and “A Jubilant Song” by Norman Dello Joio, are offered as contrasts to Glick’s work. Both are based on words by the nineteenth century American poet Walt Whitman but present two radically different musical settings.
MacPhee, who is also the director of music for St. George’s Round Church, is an accomplished pianist, organist and harpsichordist. He is also the tenor in the five-member vocal ensemble Helios. MacPhee has high expectations of Seton Cantata Choir and devotes much time and effort toward the creation of the beautiful, balanced, harmonious and expressive sound.
Accompanist Dean Bradshaw is a gifted musician in his own right Bradshaw is church organist and choir director at St. James United Church, Dartmouth, a soloist, a composer, as well as an instructor and accompanist at the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University. The Seton Cantata Choir repertoire highlights Bradshaw’s piano artistry and he will be featured as guest artist performing a set of piano works at the upcoming May concerts.
Noted counter-tenor Andrew Pickett, and founding member of “Helios” vocal ensemble, will be guest conductor for two of the concert pieces in May and will also sing with the choir.
This year’s spring concert promises to be outstanding and should not be missed! Tickets are available from choir members, regular admission $20, student admission $15. For further information check the choir website, setoncantatachoir.com.