Chor Leoni Men's Choir
Stolen Voices

Dates and Venues 8 Nov @ 3pm |Church of the Good Shepherd, 2250 150 St, Surrey, BC | 11 Nov @ 1pm West Vancouver United Church, 2062 Esquimalt Ave, West Vancouver, BC | 11 Nov @ 7.30pm Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC

Artistic Director Diane Loomer, C.M.

Reviewer Ed Farolan

A stark contrast from last summer's happy-go-lucky concert No Strings Attached, this Remembrance Day concert was a tragic, sombre expression of children and young people caught amidst the cataclysm of war. The most moving part of the concert was the reading of names of Canadians killed in Afghanistan, as each member of the choir, circled around the audience, mentioned each name out loud.

Based on diaries written by children and mothers dating from WWI through to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts,Stolen Voices views war through the eyes of these innocents. Before each song, there are readings and poems from these diaries, and the compositions feature newly commissioned works by Larry Nickel, Marcus Goddard, and Ken Cormier.

The ending of the concert is also emotional, as the audience stands and sings, together with the choir, Rupert Lang's "The Kontakion", based on the Orthodox Memorial Liturgy text. There were teary eyes in last November 8th's performance as this song was sung.

It was an international repertoire of songs, including U2's "MLK" dedicated to Martin Luther King which is the final song in this band's 1984 album. Another powerful song based on Walt Whitman's poem "Pensive on Her Dead Gazing" (music: Stephen Smith) was magnificently rendered with the high-pitched tenor solo of Bruce Hoffman. Sting's "They Dance Alone" (arr. Ken Cormier) was also brilliantly performed by this choir.

This is one of the best choirs, if not the best, here in Vancouver, and Artistic Director Diane Loomer directed and choreographed the performance impeccably.

The choir performs in other church venues until November 11th.

© 2009 Ed Farolan