(Posted 1:30 p.m., Dec. 10)
Vivo Ottawa delivers captivating holiday concert
By Fred Sherwin
of the Coro Vivo chorus are framed by a window
panel during their recent performance at the
Orléans United Church. Fred Sherwin/Photo
comes but once a year, and unfortunately, so
does Coro Vivo Ottawas annual Christmas concert
which is traditionally held at Orléans United Church.
Ottawa-born Strickland studied at the prestigious New
England Conservatory and the Académie Internationale
dEté de Nice in France.
43-member chorus set the stage for Strickland with a spirited
first act under the musical direction of Antonio Llaca.
theme of the evenings performances was Feel the
Spirit delivered through a collection of spirituals,
both traditional and contemporary, starting with the familiar
African-American song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
which was performed in the round with members of the chorus
encircling the audience.
I go on, let me first state that the acoustics at Orléans
United Church are unbelievable. It never cease amaze me.
In fact, they rival that in the Bill Shenkman Hall at
the Shenkman Arts Centre.
I digress. After taking their positions on the rostrum
at the front of the room, the chorus broke into the wonderfully
uplifting Im Gonna Live So Can Use Me featuring
Coro Vivo soloist Nikki Fitzpatrick.
was the audience's turn next, as they were invited to
join in the singing of Angels We Have Heard on High.
up on the program was Winter Wonderland, followed
by a sing-a-long version of We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
first half of the concert was brought to a close with
a cycle of spirituals arranged by the African-American
composer Moses Hogan, entitled Ride on, King Jesus.
a brief intermission, the chorus returned to their positions,
with the addition of Strickland, who had a place of honour
next to pianist Louise Léveillé.
the Spirit is a cycle of spirituals arranged by the
British composer John Rutter, who founded the internationally
acclaimed Cambridge Singers, and has penned dozens of
warming up with Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,
Steal Away, and I Got A Robe, Strickland tackled
the somberSometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child,
made famous by the incomparable Billie Holiday.
came the highlight of the evening. Strickland launched
into Evry Time I Feel The Spirit, with unbridled
abandon. The song was the perfect vehicle for Strickland
to show off her musical theatre training in addition to
her classical training.
now the audience was thoroughly enraptured. After settling
into a rendition of Deep River, Strickland and
the Coro Vivo chorus members brought the evening to a
close with arguably the most famous African-American spiritual,
When the Saints Come Marching In.
was the perfect ending to what had been a perfect evening
celebrating a genre of music that is often downplayed.
Out of the African-American spiritual sprung the earliest
forms of jazz, and later on, the blues.
taking time off for the holidays, Coro Vivo will begin
working on their next production, A Choral Celebration,
to be performed at the Orléans United Church on
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