xThe Vancouver Chamber Choir
Edmonton's Pro Coro Canada

Conductor Michael Zaugg

Date and Venue May 22, 2015 at 8pm | Ryerson United Church

Reviewer Ed Farolan

The choir, which is the sister choir of Vancouver Chamber Choir and a resident ensemble at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music in Edmonton, Alberta, wowed the crowd with their performance and came out again for the encore number "We Are the World, We Are the Children". The main theme of the programme was children and songs by young composers like "A Cradle Song" by Matthew Whittall (b. 1975), "The Stolen Child" by Eric Whitacre (b. 1970) and "Bubbles" by Bernat Vivancos (b. 1973) reflected this theme.

The funny thing is that the subtitle of their tour is" Travelling without Children", so they must miss their kids a lot when they sing these songs. Michael Zaugg, the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, considered Jon Washburn his mentor and remembers how as a young man he learned a lot from him from a Conductors' Symposium in Vancouver 10 years ago. Washburn conducted the choir for the last piece, "Ave Maria" (Anton Bruckner (1824-96) with their flawless rendition of this beautiful "Hail Mary" song.

The first half started off with Haraldur Sveinbjornsson's "Memento Mei" with soprano Annette Martens giving a wonderful solo of this song and the audience enjoyed the international rendition of Cy Giacomin's "Our Father" recited/sung in nine different languages.

The second half was the more enjoyable part. It was the men's turn to do their thing, and the audience loved their clowning around with the 1950s songs "Stand by Me" and "All about the Bass" both arranged by Zaugg.The second half also had a song composed by Mason Bates (b. 1977) "Observer in the Magellanic Cloud" sung in Maori. Ugis Praulins' "Laudibus in Sanctis", based on Psalm 150 and sung in Latin ended the second half.

This was an A+ performance. Kudos to the choir and to VCC for a fabulous show.

© 2015 Ed Farolan