vccVancouver Chamber Choir
SPACE MUSIC: Five Centuries of Spatial Song

Dates and Venue 8 May 2014, 7pm at the Bell Performing Arts Centre, 6250 - 144th Street, Surrey | 9 May 2014, 8pm at Ryerson United Church

Conductor Jon Washburn

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This was indeed an educational experience for the choir members of the students of Surrey's North Surrey Secondary and Johnston Heights Secondary schools to sing with this professional group in the first half of the programme. In the second half, they experienced an experimental side to singing.

Jon Washburn picked pieces from compositions written in the past 500 years which explored space. The space in the Bell Performing Arts Centre was used to rediscover music from every possible angle. In "An Alleluia Suoer-Round by William Albright (1944-1998), the choir members surrounded the audience, frond and sides, to sing the "Alleluia" in so many ways and tones. In "Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr", by Michael Praetorius (c.1521-1621) the choir was subdivided into four small choirs, and they alternatively sang.

But what I found most unique was "She Was a Visitor" by Robert Ashley (1930-2014) where members of the choir led six pods of the Johnston Secondary student choir. Two speakers in the front repeat "She was a visitor" and the six VCC pod leaders choose certain phonemes from the speakers' sounds and perform them.

This was an interesting concert, and Washburn, in his concluding remarks, hoped that more schools in Surrey would get involved in developing choir music..

© 2014 Ed Farolan