THE FESTIVAL CHORUS 2021-2022 Season Mel Kirby, Artistic Director Cody Obst, Accompanist & Assistant Conductor

To our loyal, steadfast, and always enthusiastic audience:

As The Festival Chorus plans for its 63rd Season, it is moving forward and has been designed with you in mind – we’ve missed you! This past year and a half may have chastened some (hoping you’ve all been kept safe) but we believe the time has come to safely return to live performances.

We were able to continue singing together remotely in what became last year’s virtual 62nd season. We continued to gather online in weekly ZOOM rehearsals, sang for each other individually, and learned more about our voices.

As we have all waited patiently – the time has arrived! The Chorus returned to live, in-person rehearsals in September. Now, we look forward to sharing our joy in making music together with you, with a season of three concerts.

We’ll open with NAVIDAD LATINA (A Latin American Christmas) featuring Hispanic folk music from the Americas – Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela among the countries to be traversed in what you’ve come to expect of us at Christmas.  In recent seasons we’ve done seasonal travelogues, presenting Christmas music inspired by and for the world’s great cities, Venice, Seville, Rome, and Paris.  NAVIDAD LATINA will return us closer to home.  It will include a suite of folk carols, Carols & Lullabies (Christmas in the Southwest) by Conrad Susa and the immensely moving Missa Criolla (Creole Mass) by Ariel RamÍrez, a folk mass based on the dance rhythms and traditions of Hispanic America.  We’ve presented the latter several times in the past, always with the plaintive and inspiring solo tenor voice of Argentinean-Canadian tenor, Jorge Avilès who will join us once again. The Chorus will be joined by some of our favourite guest instrumentalists playing modern instruments including guitar, harp, marimba, as well as  Andean instruments including the deep bass drum sound of ‘bombo’, ‘charango’ (guitar-like instrument made from a hollowed-out armadillo shell), and ‘siku’ (pan pipes).

Our March concert, ONE EARTH, MANY VOICES, will pay tribute to the resilience of all of us and our fellow neighbours on this blue-green planet.  With Classical, folk, and contemporary works representing an array of world cultures it will truly be a World choral tour.  We’re still choosing music and planning, but looking forward to hearing music from

Scandinavia, Estonia, China, Russia, down-under Australia and New Zealand, as well as Canada.

And what Festival Chorus season would be complete without a major oratorio work.  The Festival Chorus has brought the great full-evening sacred choral works of  Mozart, Haydn, J.S. Bach, Purcell, Beethoven, and Brahms to Calgary audiences for over six decades.  And I believe it is fitting we end this season of renewal and re-emergence with George Frederic Handel’s stirring and picturesque 1748 work Joshua.  It tells the story of the Children of Israel as they pass over the river Jordan into the land of Canaan after wandering in the desert.  In the midst of one of several battles, the sun and the moon are stopped in their tracks and the triumphant victors are saluted in the famous chorus, “See the Conquering Hero Comes”. Handel’s telling of the Biblical story is one I believe that can inspire us as well as we forge forward into a safer, more prudent, and considered relationship with all our fellow citizens who have battled a bewildering array of challenges and losses.  We’ll be joined by a chamber orchestra, four stellar soloists, and the magnificent organ in Knox United Church.

 In the interests of continuing aligning with the most stringent COVID protocols, we’ll be doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our audience and performers. We’ll be adhering throughout the season to the requirements established by Alberta Health Services Restriction Exemption Program (REP).

All Chorus members, myself, guest soloists, and instrumentalists will have been fully vaccinated and the same will be required of any audience members seeking admission to any of our concerts with proper proof. Please visit our Covid Protocols page for full details. Click Here

We hope you’ll join us.  Please visit our season programming page for more details.

Mel Kirby,

Artistic Director and the Board of The Festival Chorus.

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