Volume 6 Week 27

Thursday, Dec. 14


Updated Nov. 21

Updated July 12

Phil McNeely
Posted Feb. 12





(Posted 5:30 p.m., Dec. 11)

Coro Vivo concert a truly magical event
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Members of the Coro Vivo Ottawa are framed by a wreath during the group's annual Christmas concert at the Orleans United Church on the weekend. Fred Sherwin/Photo

One of the highlights of any holiday season is the Blackburn Chorus' annual Christmas concert.

The choral ensemble is one of the best vocal assembalges in the city with an amazingly broad repertoire that includes everything from Handel to Rogers and Hammerstein.

This past year the group changed its name to Coro Vivo Ottawa to better reflect their regional appeal and the fact that they now draw members from across the National Capital Region.

But even though they have a new name, the chorus still calls the east end home and as the saying goes 'Home is where the heart is".

On Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the Coro Vivo's Christmas concert at the Orleans United Church featuring songs of the season from Canada, Denmark and Catalonia.

The chorus opened the concert with a pair of carols written by Winnipeg composer Andrew Balfour. The first piece entitled The Wyandot's Realm, is a haunting almost mystical reworking of the more familiar Huron Carol.

After singing the lullaby like Coventry Carol, the choir threw themselves into a rousing Hosanna to the Son of David which had the effect of inspiring the audience when they were called upon to join in the singing of Hark the Harold Angels Sing. The traditional Christmas carol led perfectly into Ave Maria, written by Renaissance composer Josquin Des Pres.

The choir then performed two short traditional Catalonian carols, after which the audience rose as one to join in the singing of "The First Noel".

The first half of the concert was brought to a close with a pair of stunningly beautiful pieces by Handel -- And the Glory of the Lord and For Unto Us a Child is Born.

After a brief intermission, Julie Chin and Alexandra Chin opened the second half of the concert with a pair of handbell songs which led perfectly into a traditional Danish carol featuring soloist Lyne Brosseau.

Special guest Jesper Lind then shared his memories of Christmases past in his native country and invited the children in the audience to gather around a Christmas tree as the audience joined in the singing of Away In A Manger.

After performing Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's version of Avis Marie Stella, several members of the chorus donned Santa hats as the group started to sing the very cheerful Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Bass Tony Atherton then joined soprano Maxine Passer as the pair sang a winter medley of seasonal favourites.

An absolutely stunning solo performance of O Holy Night by gifted soprano Grace Ozorowski proved to be the highlight of the evening. Ozorowski's voice sent a shiver up my spine and raised the hair on the back of my neck.

The concert was brought to festive close with another medley of holiday classics including Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful. featuring Nikki Fitzpatrick on flute and Kevin Russell on trumpet.

The chorus was accompanied throughout the evening's performance by Mau-yu Chan on the church's pipe organ, Louise Leveille on piano and David Gardner on the cello.

After the holidays, the chorus will begin rehearsing for their spring concert "Postcards from Europe - Paris, Vienna and Rome" which will feature pieces by many of Europe's most famous composers including Verdi's Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves; Beethoven's "Hallelujah" from Christ on the Mount of Olives; and the German version of Strauss' Blue Danube. Guest soloists will include mezzo-soprano Claudine Ledoux from Montreal and Ottawa tenor James Farrell.

For more information about the Coro Vivo Ottawa including future auditions visit their website at www.corovivoottawa.ca.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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