Celebrating in song

York University’s Music Department will showcase the glory of the human voice with a series of four choral concerts, all directed by York Professor Lisette Canton (right), taking place Nov.15, 16 and 21.

The York University Male Chorus, with piano accompaniment by York jazz piano instructor Frank Falco, will give its premiere performance in the Music at Midday series on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 12:30pm. With a repertoire ranging over four centuries, and from the Old World to the New, the chorus’ eclectic program includes works by J.S. Bach, Stephen Chatman, Diane Loomer, Kirke Mechem, Francis Poulenc and Randall Thompson, as well as a selection of spirituals.

Later that evening, Nov. 15 at 7:30pm, the 50 singers in the York University Women’s Chorus will raise their voices in a program featuring Vivaldi’s Gloria, RV 589, arranged for soprano and alto soloists by Desmond Ratcliffe, and excerpts from Vaughan Williams’ Folk Songs of the Four Seasons – A Cantata for Women’s Voices. The choir includes soloists Hillary Coote, Gilda De Marco, Celia Lee and Leigh-Anne Martin. The members of the choir are music students in the Faculty of Fine Arts. They will be accompanied by Susan Black on piano.

The 20-voice York University Chamber Choir makes its debut on Wednesday, Nov. 16, with an a cappella concert featuring madrigals and chansons of the Italian, English and French Renaissance. The midday performance, starting at 12:30pm, will feature works by Jacob Arcadelt, William Byrd, John Bennet, John Farmer, Orlando Gibbons, Clement Janequin, Roland de Lassus and Pierre Passereau.

The choral series culminates on Monday, Nov. 21, with a concert by the 130-voice York University Concert Choir, extolling the glory of Bach’s Cantata 140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140 and Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël, Op. 12. The featured soloists will be York music students Nichea Barry, Vania Chan, Hillary Coote, Ori Dagan, Diana di Mauro, Jamie Hofman, Celia Lee, Manuel Mizzi and Paul Silvestri. They will be accompanied by a professional orchestra. Concert time is 7:30pm.

Anchored in York’s flourishing classical vocal performance program, the Male Chorus and Chamber Choir are new additions to the Music Department’s rich roster of ensembles. Working with internationally-renowned faculty such as Catherine Robbin, Norma Burrowes, Stephanie Bogle, Delia Wallis and Benjamin Butterfield, York’s young singers are attaining new levels of achievement while embracing increasingly ambitious repertoire.

“There is a feeling of excitement as our choral ensembles continue to grow in size, breadth and excellence,” said Canton.

Canton joined the music faculty at York last year as a professor of conducting and choral music. A celebrated choral and orchestral conductor and vocal coach, she has recorded for CBC radio and television, and has guest-conducted for numerous ensembles in Canada and the United States. She is the founding artistic director of the internationally-acclaimed Ottawa Bach Choir, which she led on its first, very successful European tour last May.

The four concerts take place in McLaughlin Performance Hall, 050 McLaughlin College, located on the Keele campus. Midday concerts are free; admission to evening concerts is $10 and $5 for students & seniors. For more information, call ext. 55186.

This story was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena, Faculty of Fine Arts.