Latvian-Canadian choral collaboration coming to Westminster Church May 5

April 25, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

The Dufferin Concert Singers and New Tecumseth Singers are welcoming the Septini Sapni Community Choir from Dobele, Latvia to join them during their visit to Canada and sing two concerts with them. 

In performances May 4 in Alliston and May 5 in Orangeville, the choristers will sing together as a mass choir presentation of six pieces, three in English and three in Latvian.

“It’s hard, too,” John Wervers, musical director for the Canadian choirs, attested, “but an interesting challenge.”

It was the Latvian gentleman member of the New Tecumseth Singers who instigated and encouraged hosting a choir from Latvia. 

“He sings in a Latvian church in Toronto and still goes back to Latvia several times a year,” Mr. Wervers told the Citizen. 

The 28-member Septini Sapni Community Choir will arrive next Tuesday, April 30, to be welcomed and billeted with family members of the Canadian choirs for a week, while they rehearse and tour around the area. This will be a terrific chance for new friendships and a foray into music and culture that is quite different and fascinating, in both directions. 

Under the direction of Raimonds and Sandra Bulmers, the three choirs will improve their command of each others’ languages, as they continue to rehearse the songs, in preparation for the two concerts they are planned to perform. The first is in Alliston at the Grace Baptist Church on Saturday, May 4 and the second at Westminster United Church in Orangeville, on Sunday, May 5.

Up to this point, the New Tecumseth and  Dufferin Concert singers have had a busy season. Accompanied by the Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, they did three performances of Handel’s Messiah, including to a packed house at Broadway Pentecostal Church and an outreach concert in Creemore.

March saw them bringing the Promise of Spring to Alliston and Orangeville, with a collection of lighter secular and sacred songs and featuring soloists and musicians – exactly what was perfect for the timing and the longed-for start for spring.

From a wish to give back to the community, the choir also gave a fund-raising concert at the Caledon Hills Fellowship Baptist Church, on Airport Road, in support of their future project, “Victory House – A Door to Change”. Similar to Orangeville’s Family Transition Place, the project will feature a purpose-designed building on the church property, to provide temporary refuge for women and their children in case of need. Victory House will provide care and, further, customized support programs for residents.

Now the two local choirs will finish their season with the upcoming Latvian concerts. 

The theme for the concerts is United in Song, “Dziesma Vieno,” and an invitation for the surrounding communities to enjoy visiting and hearing these combined choirs as a mass choir. 

The music selected is designed to reflect  the heritage and culture of Latvia and Canada.

To have a clear view of just where Latvia is, it is across the Baltic Sea from Sweden, a country of 110 jurisdictions which won its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is fully a parliamentarian democracy and a country that exercises strong environmental policies. 

Dobele, the city from which the Septini Sapni Community Choir comes, is located in the interior of the country and features a historic castle, built in 1335. 

The Latvian choir will be in Canada for two weeks. After their stay with their new friends here and in New Tecumseth they will travel on to Toronto to meet and sing with the Latvian community there.

For the performances on Saturday, May 4 in Alliston and Sunday, May 5 at Westminster United Church, the Latvians will perform the first half of the concerts and then join with the Canadian choirs for the mass choir, to sing in English and Latvian.

For tickets, go to South Simcoe Arts, Lloyd’s Papermoon in Alliston, BookLore in Orangeville or call Mary at 705-435-5497.

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