the Blackburn Chorus was comtemplating material for their 22nd Spring Concert,
celebrating the birth of one of the world's most brilliant classical composers
was an obvious choice. The difficulty was in trying to decide which of his great
works to perform. In the end they chose Requiem, and judging by their performance
on Saturday night it was a wonderful choice.
perform the Requiem you need three key ingredients -- a superb chorus,
a talented orchestra and outstanding soloists. Saturday night's performance at
Dominion Chalmers United Church had all three, not to mention an exceptional venue.
Virtuosi Orchestra provided the musical accompaniment, while soprano Joyce El-Khoury,
mezzo-soprano Claudine Ledoux, baritone Keith Miller and tenor James OFarrell
were the invited soloists.
chorus got things going with a thunderous introit followed by the softer Kyrie,
but it was during Dies Iraie, the first movement of the Sequenza, that
the chorus truly shone. The alto and soprano sections were in especially fine
form as their voices filled the enclave and soared to the rafters. So powerful
was their performance that it made my blood tingle.
the second movement of the Sequenza, the soloists each sang a verse beginning
with Colorado native and former NFL fullback Keith Miller. While all four soloists
lived up to their advance billing, the Blackburn Chorus was out of this world
both literally and figuratively as evident by their performance of the haunting
and other wordly Lacrymosa.
rest of the Requiem went by far too quickly, leaving the audience hungry
for more. After a short intermission the ensemble was happy to oblige with Mozart's
lesser known Vesperae de Dominica.
the Requiem is primarily a choral performance, the Vesparae provided
the perfect showcase for the talents of the four soloists, especially Ottawa native
several of the movements, the gifted soprano exchanged verses effortlessly with
Ledoux, but it was on her own that she provided some of the most mesmerizing moments
of the evening. Her closing of Laudate Dominum literally gave me goosebumps,
especially her final "Amen" which provided the perfect exclamation point
to an unforgettable evening.
a small group of friends first got together 22 years ago to share their love of
popular music, the Blackburn Chorus has evolved into one of the most powerful
vocal ensembles in the city. They also rank among the city's best kept secrets.
the music they're also very good at taking care of the little things, like printing
programs with the original Latin verse along with English and French translations.
should also be noted that a portion of the proceeds from both the Friday and Saturday
night concerts will go to the CHEO Foundation.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local