BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Lacombe’s community choir, the Parkland Classical Singers, are excited to be presenting their talents through the ‘Choral Music for the Seasons’ performance next week.
On April 10th at 7:30 p.m., join the choir and accompanying string quartet for an evening of entertainment at the Wolf Creek Community Church Hall.
Admission is $10 at the door, and co-founder Carolyn Cave said to come early, as their performances usually pack the hall. Refreshments will follow the event.
Dr. Wendolin Munroe will conduct the event, accompanied by Cave.
Special guests to the performance include Christian Neacsu, violin; Qian Yin, violin and piano; Isaac Willocks, viola; Cave on the cello and Zoe McCormick, soprano.
“We have a four-part choir. There are two men’s parts and two women’s parts. Wendolin is very, very good at blending those sounds of the choir.
“She does some vocal coaching with us and in the process of doing that also teaches coaching and warm-ups, and as we move through to practice the pieces, she does an amazing job of making our voices blend together. It’s a very precise, full sound,” promises Cave.
She said the addition of the string quartet is new this year, and that she is very much looking forward to the performance.
The group has been practicing for many months to put together their pieces that will bring alive the various sounds of the season.
Cave said the performance may not move in seasonal sequence, however, listeners will definitely be able to tell the variance in song between the four seasons.
Cave explained that in recent years, the group has decided to choose a specific theme, and it has been able to bring a new sort of atmosphere to the performances. “This year, it’s been all about finding music that reflects the seasons, and exploring how you can make music sound like the seasons, or be about the seasons. It’s a fun way to design the concert,” she said. “We’re doing one piece about winter, and it’s amazing how the piano sounds almost icy. It’s very cool.”
The group performs music laid out by classical masters before them, but has explored a number of themes and styles, including Atlantic Canada sounds and a tribute to English music in recent years.
The choir itself is close-knit, working together for hours each week to perfect their tunes and harmonies.
Cave praised Dr. Munroe for her ability to guide the performers and blend their voices in a harmonious and finely-tuned fashion.
She said the Parkland Classical Singers do have a defined sound, but it is one that people of all ages can appreciate. As well, she said there are singers from all walks of life involved in the group and it is wonderful to have such a variety of input and personal style in the overall sound.
When asked what she most enjoys about performing with Parkland Classical Singers, she smiled and said, “It’s so fun to see people enjoying music so much, and to see people building friendships within the group. It’s wonderful to see people come out to our practices and genuinely love what they do. Eventually, the group kind of ends up being a second family. You love the music, and you love the people.”
Cave added the group is open to all ages, and that they are welcoming to new vocalists who would like to participate.
They are also always on the look out for strong male singers, in particular.
“If you are a male and you sing, we would love to have you. It can be difficult to get men to come out, aside from some of the couples we have in our group,” she said. She said the addition of the male voices can bring a rounded-out sound to the choir, but ultimately they are always seeking those with a passion for song.
As for the upcoming performance, Cave said she is excited to finally bring to fruition their months of hard work.
“Everyone is excited and nervous at the same time, I’m sure. Certainly, after working the whole time since October to now, this is definitely a climax for us,” she said.
“We’ve all been paying attention to the improvement of the songs, and the development and now the final performance in front of people will be exciting as it always is.”
The group was first brought together in 2006 by Cave and Dr. Munroe, and has since seen tremendous growth and reception in the community.
Cave said that in recent years, they’ve had to add chairs to each of their performances as there has been such a high turnout for the audience.
Cave said the initiative to begin the choir stemmed from a life-long love of music, beginning in her at an early age with piano. Eventually, she was led to try playing the pipe organ as well as clarinet, but didn’t foster her love for the cello until much later.
Now, she will join in the quartet, sharing her talents and enjoying her time with the other very talented musicians and singers who come together to form the Parkland Classical Singers.
The performance is family-friendly and guests are recommended to come early to reserve their spots.