Women’s choir warms up for French concerts
Ensemble Laude, the popular local women’s choir founded in 1998, does not usually perform in July. This weekend, however, it will give its first summer concerts as a prelude to its trip to the south of France.
(Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Church of St. Mary the Virgin, $20/$18/$15; Sunday, 2:30 p.m., Providence Farm Chapel, Duncan, $15/$12/$10; under 13 free; ensemblelaude.org.)
On July 31 and Aug. 2, Laude will perform in cathedrals in Nice and Aix-en-Provence.
Then, on Aug. 4, 7, and 9, it will perform at Choralies, a festival in Vaison-la-Romaine, a small, historic town in the Vaucluse, 100 kilometres north of Marseille.
The festival, launched in 1953, brings together thousands of singers, instrumentalists and conductors from around the world for concerts, workshops and other events. Laude, attending by invitation, will be the only Canadian choir at this year's festival.
This weekend, Laude will give local audiences a preview of the hour-long program it will sing, in three different venues, at Choralies.
Titled Flight, it plays to Laude’s strengths, shows off its range, showcases Canada and Victoria, and tips a hat to France. It mostly comprises music composed or arranged by Canadians — a couple of traditional Québécois numbers (O Yo Yo, Reel à bouche) plus a handful of works by contemporary composers of various stripes, including one local, Georgina Craig. There is a repertoire reflecting Laude’s multicultural bent (American, Irish, Spanish, Finnish, Zulu), and music by medieval and modern French composers.
The entire program will be performed from memory and some numbers are being choreographed by Kathy Lang.
(The program will be tweaked for the earlier cathedral performances, which will be devoted to sacred music.)
Ensemble Laude has never visited France before, though its artistic director, soprano Elizabeth MacIsaac, was based there for several years in the 1990s.
Powell River, on the Sunshine Coast, plays host every two years to its own festival, the International Choral Kathaumixw. (Pronounced “khaw-tye-mew,” the Coast Salish word means “a gathering together of different peoples.”)
Founded in 1984, the five-day festival comprises concerts, competitions, seminars, and other events involving more than 1,200 singers, and has become internationally known.
This year's festival closes on Saturday, and next Wednesday, two of the participating choirs will cross the strait to perform downtown at First Metropolitan United Church (8 pm., $20/$15, family of four or more $30; firstmetvictoria.com).
They are the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir and the Atlanta Young Singers, both acclaimed, prize-winning ensembles that tour and compete internationally.
The New Zealand choir won Kathaumixw’s first People’s Choice Award in 2010 and was chosen as the 2016 guest choir, while the Atlanta choir won a gold medal and diploma at the 2014 World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia.
Christ Church Cathedral’s Summer Recital Series, now more than 50 years old, begins on Saturday in the cathedral’s nave (4 p.m., admission by donation) and will continue every subsequent Saturday through the end of August.
As usual, the series comprises short programs (about an hour) ranging widely in terms of repertoire and performance media and featuring both young and established performers, mostly locals, among them members of some of our best ensembles.
The lineup includes the young pianist Barry Tan (this Saturday), playing Mozart, Chopin, Ravel, and Medtner; the Emily Carr String Quartet (July 16), performing works including a late Haydn quartet; the West Coast Chamber Players (July 23), a mixed quintet whose program includes Bach’s Musical Offering and Mozart’s Horn Trio; KlaVIERhands, a fourhand piano duet comprising Jane EdlerDavis and Wendy Stofer (July 30), playing Grieg and Dvorák among other things; soprano Eve Daniell (Aug. 6), singing both classical and popular numbers; and the violin duet of Eva Svensson and Thomas Williams (Aug. 20).
On Aug. 13, in a return appearance, the Victoria Symphony’s superb longtime principal clarinetist, Keith MacLeod, will collaborate with his daughter, soprano Heather MacLeod, and pianist Charlotte Hale.
The series will conclude on Aug. 27, with another return, by popular demand: Victoria Symphony trumpeter David Michaux will be joined by several brass and string colleagues and pianist Robert Holliston in an eclectic program including a sextet and a septet.