Together In Song

 Why “Together In Song”? 

Carrie Tennant, the conductor of EnChor, had talked with me about doing a combined concert with both choirs. This stage in the year is really good for that – it’s too soon to do an entire program, but great to share one. 

Who is EnChor? 

EnChor was the last choir founded by the late Diane Loomer, who also conducted Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, and co-founded Elektra Women’s Choir. EnChor is made up of older singers who have sung in various other choirs in the Lower Mainland. They come from all over – and some of Richmond Chorus’s former (and current) singers also sing with them. 

What’s on the program? 

The two choirs are going to share some music, beginning with the wonderful “Cantique de Jean Racine” by the French composer Gabriel Fauré, and ending with John Rutter’s rousing arrangement of “Down by the Riverside”, in which we hope the audience will join us. Richmond Chorus will sing most of the first half of the concert and EnChor will sing after the intermission. 

What music is the Chorus singing? 

I’ve chosen a set I’m calling “the many faces of Bob Chilcott”. That’s a name that’s probably not familiar to anyone except another choral musician, but if you mention the King’s Singers, most people probably know of them. Chilcott sang tenor with them for 12 years. He is now known as a clinician – especially with children’s choirs – an arranger and a composer. 

Some of the music the Chorus is singing comes from other sources. “Mairi’s Wedding” is a traditional Scottish song we love, with a driving rhythm and an infectious energy; “Buffalo Gals”, a traditional US song is similarly fun. “And So It Goes” (Billy Joel) and “Yesterday” (Lennon & McCartney) were both originally arranged for the King’s Singers. “God So Loved” and “The Little Jazz Mass” are both Chilcott originals. 

Is this really jazz? 

It depends on your definition. Jazz choirs are usually smaller than the Chorus, and typically tend to work with individual amplification. The work being done by Rejean Marois at Cap College is typical of that style. But this mass is written with a regular choir in mind, but with a variety of jazz idioms in the music – The Kyrie has real groove, the Gloria swings, the Sanctus sits right back, the Benedictus hums along, and the Agnus Dei draws inspiration from the Blues 

We’re being joined in this piece by two young grads from McNair: Julian Jayme on bass and Rayzel Linag on drums. 

Brigid Coult

As an ex-singer himself (in both King's College Choir and the King's Singers), Bob Chilcott knows what works vocally. You can hear this particularly in A Little Jazz Mass, where he perfectly fits the words of the Latin text to the whippy, upbeat syncopations of the Kyrie and Gloria . . . The work could have easily been kitschily condescending but actually works excellently." - Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine, June 2013 

"Chilcott's is a remarkable achievement in that he has written music that is approachable but never sugary, and jazz-infused but in no way irreligious. Doubtless there will be some who will consider a Jazz Mass inappropriate for liturgical use, but that number will surely diminish upon hearing either of Chilcott's . . . The Kyrie from the Little Jazz Mass and the Agnus Dei from the Nidaros Jazz Mass is where to start if you need to be convinced of this genre." - Jeremy Summerly, Choir & Organ November 2012 

"Chilcott's Little Jazz Mass employs a creative and engaging musical language right from the start . . . The writing is largely intuitive and straightforward, although singers will have to be prepared for plenty of stylish jazz crunch-chords . . . Highly recommended for choirs of mixed-ability upwards." - Tom Wiggall, Music Teacher July 07 

"There are plenty of highlights . . . from the Gloria's opening swing bass and final dramatic cut-off to the concluding moody, bluesy Agnus. Although ostensibly a concert piece, it wouldn't take a huge leap of imagination to see this work in a liturgical context, while the piano part is so well written that effective performance requires only a moderate level of improvisational skill, if any." - Matthew Greenall, The Singer June 07 

THE LILY & THE ROSE 

Chilcott's rare gift for crafting the most poignant and beguiling melodies is rarely more apparent than in his setting of this enchanting and enigmatic medieval poem. The style is akin to folk ballad, lyrical with just a hint of melancholy, which will draw in singers and listeners alike. 

BUFFALO GALS 

upbeat and exuberant arrangement of a classic American folk song is a real show-stopper. Chilcott combines easy but highly effective SATB textures with a straightforward piano accompaniment to evoke the sounds and spirit of a riotous barn dance. 

Cantique de Jean Racine (Op. 11) is a work for mixed chorus and piano or organ by Gabriel Fauré. Written by the nineteen-year-old composer in 1864-5, the piece won Fauré the first prize when he graduated from the École Niedermeyer de Paris and was first performed the following year on August 4, 1866, with accompaniment of strings and organ. It was first published around 1875 or 1876 (Schoen, Paris, as part of the series Echo des Maîtrises) and appeared in a version 

for orchestra (possibly by the composer) in 1906. The accompaniment has also been arranged for strings and harp by John Rutter. 

And so it Goes captures the heartbreak so many have known. To have loved and lost- 

Funny...everyone has their own opinion...but, Joel wrote this song for his girlfriend at the time, Elle Macpherson, knowing that their relationship was not going to last...sounds to me as if it is a sad song specifically because it was about a man who knew the woman he was with was not going to stay and there was nothing he could do but deal with that fact but he wanted to let her know how he felt.Kelly (1/13/11) hit the nail on the head. The crux of the song is the single line: "...and you can have this heart to break." Meaning, "Yes, I've been hurt before, but I'd rather deliberately make myself vulnerable again than live without love in my life."