More singers facing the choral music

EnChor, formed in 2007, will join Richmond Chorus this Saturday night to perform music from the British Isles.

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After the texting, e-mailing, tweeting and status updating, there’s real life, community and choir. The present popularity in people coming together through song could have as much to do with how technology divides us as choir brings us together.

“This is a world of connecting to people through an electronic device, and being part of your community through electronic devices,” said conductor Carrie Tennant. “People crave that human-to-human contact, and creating something beautiful with other human beings is not as large a part of our communities as it used to be. People, once they get a taste of how that feels, they just crave it.”

Tennant is at the helm of three choirs, including EnChor, which will be in Richmond Saturday with the Richmond Chorus for the “Together in Song” concert at Fraserview Church.

EnChor is a 55-voice choir composed of singers aged 55 and over. The late Diane Loomer formed EnChor in 2007, and Tennant took over the reigns a year ago. She also directs the Coastal Sound Youth Choir, leads her newly-created Vancouver Youth Choir and is planning the Voices West Youth Choir Festival, which features six choirs performing at Vancouver’s Canadian Memorial Church on Nov. 9.

That sense of belonging, a togetherness, that choirs can bring is something EnChor members are familiar with, but the younger singers in her other choirs haven’t necessarily experienced that. Once they do—by being a part of a large creative process—they can’t get enough of it, said Tennant.

“The beauty of it is that both groups of people have the same excitement and passion and love for the choral art form. Both groups of people aren’t cynical or jaded—they do it purely for the joy of what it brings to their lives and what it brings to their communities.”

After completing a degree as an instrumentalist, Tennant started teaching high school music and soon fell in love with choirs. Drawn to the community-building, collaboration and spontaneity of choral music, it became her teaching focus. She completed a master’s degree, and intended to return to teaching, but choral music opportunities proved too great. For the past two years she’s been a professional conductor—and loving it.

It’s an exciting time for choral music in Metro Vancouver, said Tennant, with new choirs springing up around the region, more young people getting excited about the music and a growing spirit of collaboration among choirs.

That spirit will be on display Saturday as EnChor takes the stage with the Richmond Chorus—two different choirs whose singers share a similar passion. With music focusing on British choral composer Bob Chilcott’s “Little Jazz Mass,” the concert will feature solo choir performances and joint performances.

Said Tennant: “It’s exciting to be doing collaborative things, but it is not unique in this time. That’s what’s exciting to me. There’s so many great collaborations happening and we’re just happy to be a part of that.”

Together in Song

•Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Fraserview Church, 11295 Mellis Dr.

•Featuring the Richmond Chorus and EnChor choirs

•Tickets, $6 to $18 (free for children under age six), available at the door