Proud to be Canadian
That’s what the concert at the United Church on Friday, Sept. 29 made the audience feel. It certainly was “Something to sing about!”
This concert was the brainchild of Daphne Allen, and was put together in a joint effort by the Voices of Spring, directed by Susan Robinson of Massey, The French Choir, directed by Berthe Michon, The Sunshine Singers, directed by Mariette Laginski, The Harmonicats (Espanola United Church Choir and friends), directed by Valerie Brill, and The Espanola Strings.
Have you ever been in the audience of a concert, surrounded by the voices of four choirs, where O’ Canada was being sung in French and English accompanied by stringed instruments and piano? You sing along, so proud to be a Canadian.
This concert was held specifically to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by presenting music from across Canada - all Canadian written music.
Could you name the Canadians who wrote “Faraway Places”, “Both Sides Now” or “Walk Hand in Hand with Me”? If you weren’t part of the audience Friday night, you missed a memorable musical moment when Heather Walker sang that traditional song often sung at weddings, accompanied by The Espanola Strings. Heather wowed the audience again later with “Land of the Silver Birch” sung as a lament.
What a unique concert! Where else could you hear Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and Stompin’ Tom’s “Hockey Song” sung back to back by the award-winning Voices of Spring; or the Sunshine Singers performing “This Land is Your Land” with added original verses about our own communities?
The French Choir sang two traditional songs, “Vive la canadienne” and “V’la I’bon vent”, then surprised us with a French pot pourri! The Harmonicats revived “When I First Came to This Land, I Was Not a Wealthy Man” with great humour. They also treated us to “Farewell to Nova Scotia” and “Something to Sing About .... this land of ours”.
Grant Lewis led the audience through a rousing version of “Alouette”; he was later joined by Rock Taylor and Pat Parker as the Lumberjacks swatted their way through “The Blackfly Song”.
Then all the choirs assembled on stage for the “Squid-Jiggin’ Ground” and a rousing version of the finale CANA-DA!
Master of ceremonies Reverend Cory Vermeer-Cuthbert explained that a good will offering in aid of hurricane victims in the Caribbean islands would be matched by the David Allen Memorial Fund, through Don and Daphne Allen. Along with the matched donation, more than $2,400 was raised.
This magical evening of music celebrating Canada’s 150s birthday was completed with a red and white birthday cake and punch.