(Posted 7 a.m., May 10)
Vivo anniversary concert a retrospective walk down memory
By Fred Sherwin
Coro Vivo celebrated its 30th anniversary
Friday night with a musical walk down memory
lane that appropriately reflected the ensemble's
eclectic repertoire over the years. Fred Sherwin
It's been 30 years since a group of 17 friends first got
together in Blackburn Hamlet to form what would eventually
become Coro Vivo Ottawa.
Robin is the last remaining member of what was then called
the Blackburn Chorus. She still remembers the first time
they performed in front of an audience at a nursing home
on Montreal Road.
was being televised by Rogers cable vision and we were
scared stiff," recalls Robin.
original group of 17 was formed by Irene Thompson and
Joan Eustace. They would go on to perform at retirement
homes. hospitals, schools and anywhere else they were
Yates joined the chorus in 1989. He was "recruited"
by his wife who coaxed him into joining the ensemble after
he drove her to one of the practices.
was the best decision I never made," jokes Yates.
its humble beginnings in Blackburn Hamlet, Coro Vivo has
grown into one of premier choral ensembles in the city
as evident by the quality and eclecticism of their anniversary
concert on Friday night.
first half of the program began with "It's Grand
Night For Singing " from the Rodgers and Hammerstein
musical "The State Fair" with Louise Lévillé
providing accompaniment on piano as she has been doing
for the better part of the past 20 years.
next three songs were all chosen to reflect the ensemble's
versatility, starting with the title song from Andrew
Lloyd Weber's "Phantom of the Opera". They then
sang "Panis Angelicus", taken from the hymn
"Sacris solemniis" by Saint Thomas Aquinas,
followed by the American spiritual song "Sweet Chariot"
which literally ended on high note delivered by tenor
Nancy McCaughan which made the hair on my arm stand up.
rest of the opening set included songs from the chorus'
earlier years such as "Sunrise, Sunset", "A
Gaelic Blessing" and "Peter in da Sea, Sea,
Sea" which was frolicking good fun as was the final
song of the set "Jing-ga-lye-ya".
a brief intermission the chorus and the audience were
back for more, starting with an inspirational performance
of the first part of the "Gloria, In Excelsis "
hymn. It proved to be the perfect warm up for the magic
that was to come.
chorus chose one of their favourite songs next, "Va
Pensiero" from the Giuseppe Verdi opera "Nabucca",
followed by a song that's near and dear to my heart, "Away
From the Roll of Sea", by Cape Breton singer, songwriter,
historian and storyteller Allister MacGillivray.
the highlight of the evening was still to come as the
chorus switched its musical focus to its most recent period
under the tutelage Antonio Llaca, who took over as conductor
from David Chin in 2006.
of the first concerts Coro Vivo held under Llaca's direction
was "Navidad Nuestra" which was a wonderful
tribute to the maestro's Latin American heritage, and
one of the best pieces they sang that evening was "Misa
chorus performed a reprisal of that magical moment Friday
night with guest soloist Sylvia Larrass once again taking
centre stage, and if possible, it was even better the
second time around with guitarist Christian Flores and
percussionist Juan Louis Vasquez providing musical accompaniment
and Mother Nature providing some dramatic lighting as
lightning strikes flashed in the window above and behind
up on the program was the whimsical "Juramento"
by Cuban composer Miguel Matamoros, followed by another
Coro Vivo classic "Cantique de Jean Racine"
by the 19th century French composer Gabriel Fauré.
chorus traveled back down east for its next song, selecting
another piece by McGillivray entitled "Here's to
Song" with McCuaghan providing the lead vocal. Next
up on the program was "Hymn to Freedom" by Canadian
jazz legend Oscar Peterson. They then ended the program
with their own unique version of "The Barber of Seville
Overture", before inviting all the former chorus
members in the audience to join them for an encore.
entire program provided the perfect celebration for the
little community choir that has truly blossomed over the
years into a choral ensemble that now totals 51 members
from across Ottawa.
sure there is still a lot more magic to come starting
with their annual holiday concert in December. I can hardly
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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