VSO New Music Festival
Choral Magnificence

Date and Venue January 16, 2015 at 7:30pm | Orpheum Theatre

Conductor Bramwell Tovey Featured performers Dr. Graeme Langager and The Phoenix Chamber Choir

Reviewer Karen Fitzgibbon

Tonight’s concert, Choral Magnificence by the 28 members of the Phoenix Chamber Choir, is the second of three in the New Music Festival.

The evening of music starts with compositions by composer Gabriel Jackson of To Morning and Not No Faceless Angel. The following music rang very familiar to me since it was the music played at the royal wedding of Prince William; Ubi Caritas by Welsh composer Paul Mealor. How must it feel to be note perfect? This choir has won many awards and surely one of the great prides of Canada.

Conductor Bramwell Tovey, has a great sense of humor and delights the audience with his new shoes that someone else thought more appropriate for the conductor than his other ones. His charming ways warms the audience to his introduction of the Phoenix Chamber Choir and its Director/Conductor, Dr. Graeme Langager.

There is a very good turnout tonight but I would like to see more young people attending the performance. It is waves of white hair before me (including mine) who are drawn to tonight’s classical performance. I wonder as I sit here how many classical musicians there are in the audience soaking up every note. I wondered also if they are remembering the days that they too played in an incredible orchestra or sang in a choir like the ones on stage..

It amazes me to think of the great time and work that is put in to create such sound. I am so glad that Maestro Tovey announced when to applaud and it was quite funny when he said “Applaude after the 3rd and if someone is clapping, turn around and look at them”. I personally wait for others to applaud since I am not always in tune to all classical pieces and would hate to be a reviewer and the only one applauding. Heaven forbid!

We arrive early so there we are the only ones standing in front of the beautiful stage of the Orpheum. We are amazed at the intricacy of many of the wall and ceiling ornamentation and its inspiring hand painted dome. To play as musician or sing in such splendor must surely bring out the best of one’s talent. The talent on that stage tonight was moving.

© 2015 Karen Fitzgibbon