Amaranth Chamber Choir presents concert on Saturday

November 3, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

‘Requiem’ by Canadian composer Eleanor Daley is the centrepiece for an ‘In Remembrance’ concert of choral music at St. Mark’s Church in Orangeville Saturday evening and St. John’s United in Alliston Sunday afternoon.

The Amaranth Chamber Choir, composed of talented singers, some of whom come from other towns and choirs, was formed by John Wervers a couple of years ago and last April presented an all-Baroque concert at Orangeville’s Westminster United Church. In 2016, they featured the premiere performance of Bob Chilcott’s St. John’s Passion.

This weekend’s performances, also under the direction of John Wervers includes some seven pieces, all of which are in keeping with the In Remembrance theme. Westminster’s organist/choirmaster Nancy Sicsic will be the accompanist for both concerts.

There are four guest musicians – violinists Mark Lane Smith and Susan Connolly, Terry Gauthier on trumpet and bagpipers Jamie Blacklock in Orangeville and Scott Buchanan in Alliston.

Soloists in the choir include sopranos Nancy Claridge and Melyssa McInnis, tenor Bernie Lynch and baritone Gregory Dickison.

Much of the music will be familiar from the decades of remembrances. In addition to Requiem, The Snow by Elgar, whose wife Alice wrote the words;  Blades of Grass Pure White Stones, and In Flanders  Fields are all part of this solemn time of song and music.

For the Fallen, also by Eleanor Daley, is also on the program.

A form of Kontakion is an element of this program – a hymn or chant as a meditation of death and the hope and light of Christ which overcomes the darkness. It should be an impressive performance.

“There are concerts every weekend, or it seems like it, at this time of year – followed by all the concerts at Christmas,” commented chorister John Lemke in a telephone interview, talking about this and other upcoming concerts, including one with a new children’s choir.

“I think it’s a big sense of community putting something like this together – making one thing of many. The excitement of performance and the sharing with other people, to put it altogether and then, give it to the community.”

In a further conversation with Director  John Wervers, he expressed the lesson that, “Music has always been a great rallying point to bring people together,” adding, “Remembrance is such an honour to make an awareness. Music is a great tool: a message of healing and hope is all part of the of the power of music.

“Singing together brings people from all walks of life – leave the business of life and the stress at the doorway, not to mention it’s a strong cognitive exercise, physical – social activity. There are lots of talented people  [with] such busy lives, they don’t have get the chance to exercise their talent. This gives them the opportunity to sing.”

With some passion, Mr. Wervers summed it up, “There are lots of reasons why we should be making music together.”

Tickets for each of the Concerts – Orangeville’s at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and Alliston’s Sunday at 3:30 p.m. – are $20 and can be purchased at BookLore 519-942-3830, St. Mark’s Church 519-941-0640, Lloyd’s Papermoon,  Alliston, 705-435-9890,  John Lemke at 519-216-2830, or at the door.

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