(Posted 5:30 p.m., Dec. 11)
concert a truly magical event
By Fred Sherwin
of the Coro Vivo Ottawa are framed by a wreath during the group's annual
Christmas concert at the Orleans United Church on the weekend. Fred Sherwin/Photo
One of the
highlights of any holiday season is the Blackburn Chorus' annual Christmas
The choral ensemble
is one of the best vocal assembalges in the city with an amazingly broad
repertoire that includes everything from Handel to Rogers and Hammerstein.
This past year
the group changed its name to Coro Vivo Ottawa to better reflect their regional
appeal and the fact that they now draw members from across the National
But even though
they have a new name, the chorus still calls the east end home and as the
saying goes 'Home is where the heart is".
On Saturday night
I had the pleasure of attending the Coro Vivo's Christmas concert at the
Orleans United Church featuring songs of the season from Canada, Denmark
The chorus opened
the concert with a pair of carols written by Winnipeg composer Andrew Balfour.
The first piece entitled The Wyandot's Realm, is a haunting almost
mystical reworking of the more familiar Huron Carol.
the lullaby like Coventry Carol, the choir threw themselves into
a rousing Hosanna to the Son of David which had the effect of inspiring
the audience when they were called upon to join in the singing of Hark
the Harold Angels Sing. The traditional Christmas carol led perfectly
into Ave Maria, written by Renaissance composer Josquin Des Pres.
The choir then
performed two short traditional Catalonian carols, after which the audience
rose as one to join in the singing of "The First Noel".
The first half
of the concert was brought to a close with a pair of stunningly beautiful
pieces by Handel -- And the Glory of the Lord and For Unto Us
a Child is Born.
After a brief
intermission, Julie Chin and Alexandra Chin opened the second half of the
concert with a pair of handbell songs which led perfectly into a traditional
Danish carol featuring soloist Lyne Brosseau.
Jesper Lind then shared his memories of Christmases past in his native country
and invited the children in the audience to gather around a Christmas tree
as the audience joined in the singing of Away In A Manger.
Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's version of Avis Marie Stella, several
members of the chorus donned Santa hats as the group started to sing the
very cheerful Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
Bass Tony Atherton
then joined soprano Maxine Passer as the pair sang a winter medley of seasonal
stunning solo performance of O Holy Night by gifted soprano Grace
Ozorowski proved to be the highlight of the evening. Ozorowski's voice sent
a shiver up my spine and raised the hair on the back of my neck.
The concert was
brought to festive close with another medley of holiday classics including
Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful. featuring Nikki Fitzpatrick
on flute and Kevin Russell on trumpet.
The chorus was
accompanied throughout the evening's performance by Mau-yu Chan on the church's
pipe organ, Louise Leveille on piano and David Gardner on the cello.
After the holidays,
the chorus will begin rehearsing for their spring concert "Postcards
from Europe - Paris, Vienna and Rome" which will feature pieces by
many of Europe's most famous composers including Verdi's Chorus of the
Hebrew Slaves; Beethoven's "Hallelujah" from Christ on the
Mount of Olives; and the German version of Strauss' Blue Danube.
Guest soloists will include mezzo-soprano Claudine Ledoux from Montreal
and Ottawa tenor James Farrell.
For more information
about the Coro Vivo Ottawa including future auditions visit their website
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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