A great intro from the Honourable Tommy Banks who talked about the recent tour to Toronto, where the choir “hit it out of the park” twice. Tommy made the pitch to support the choir in their next tours and also talked about the next concert to feature the men of Pro Coro. Grim and Glacial. He said it would be a concert where it would be raining men. Tommy then welcomed the Elmer Iseler Singers and special guest Ed Stelmach and the widow of Elmer Iseler – Jessie.
Onto the concert.
The first piece Immortal Bach was completely awesome where the audience was surrounded by wonderful sound of both choirs in the aisles. There were four section heads behind Michael at the centre and they conducted their sections throughout. My son looked to me at the end and said “awesome”!
Moving into typical choir formation the combined choirs sang Schaffe in mir, Gott (Psalm 51) which washed over the audience with the repeating words and was a true joy to listen to.
Pro Coro then left the stage and we were welcomed by Lydia Adams Conductor of the Elmer Iseler Singers. They sang a piece by Benjamin Britten Hymn to St Cecilia with that classic Iseler singers sound. She also had a funny anecdote about Britten to start with. Beautiful!
This was followed with a piece by Canadian Peter Togni Requiem et Lux dedicated to a friend of his who passed away. It was wonderful! They then went onto some pieces by Schubert. The first Der Tanz was written for a 16 year old girl as a present. Schubert says this should be sung they twice as it is short. It was! The next started off lightly but then became dark – it was about the boatman of death called Der Gondalfahrer. They finished their set with An Die Musik.
Pro Coro began the second half with a piece by Praulins, whom Michael told the choir were his groupies. This piece O Lux Beatissima began with the choir in a split formation and they changed into regular formation during it. A wonderful experience of sound, soaring harmonies, interchanging lines. All beautiful.
The Iseler Singers came back with Nocturn a piece by Canadian Composer Leonard Enns. Pretty cool piece. They then went onto two songs of the spirit. Abide With Me and Precious Lord.
Abide with me sounded nothing like what you may remember from
November 11. Soft harmonies, beautiful synchronicity and truly lovely sound. Makes you listen to it anew again. Great experience!
Precious Lord was by Tommy Dorsey and was sweet and lilting with sound you could tell the singers could really bite into and enjoy.
Reformed with Pro Coro joining them the final set began Three Spirituals. Ain a That Good News, All My Trials and Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel. 46 professional choristers really rings in this space. My son said, after the first one, “that sounded fun!” Love the bass line in the second, it really resonated. Then they all let it rip a little. Great!
In the last piece you could hear the tenors when they had a top part and it was nice to hear them ring the Cathedral. My son summed it up with “that’s a way to end a concert.
Encore Ezikiel Saw the Wheel. You actually felt like you were on the train!