In June, 2003, I resigned from my previous choir and intended to take a year off after having conducted choirs for nearly 20 years. In August 2003, composer James Wright contacted me looking for a choir to sing his piece If I Were the Moon (text by Canadian author Sherri Fitch who was keynote speaker) at the Writer’s Festival. I told Dr. Wright that I did not have a choir at the time so he suggested we each call some choristers that we knew and have them get together for a couple of rehearsals to sing this piece and two pieces from Dr. Wright’s Gallery of Song. We each called some girls and ended up with a group of 21 choristers who were excited to be part of this event.
We had a successful rehearsal and a very successful performance! Much to my surprise, when I arrived home later that day, there was an invitation on my answering machine from the Ottawa Citizen for us to sing at their Raise a Reader breakfast at 6:00am in the morning at City Hall. I put this request out to the group and once again, these choristers enthusiastically accepted this invitation! Directly after this came an invitation for us to sing at the Congress Centre for the National Volunteer Awards. It was at this point that a decision had to be made as to whether I would take my “year off” or whether this choir was “meant to be”. It was impossible to resist the enthusiasm of the choristers, the invitations from the community and the requests from the parents and thus, Cantiamo was born! In the 2012 – 2013 season we celebrate our 10th anniversary!
Cantiamo’s First Piece: “If I Were The Moon” By James Wright, text by Sherri Fitch
We have a number of performances in the coming season and are happy to be connecting with other groups in our community! We are also looking forward to singing once again with our Cantiamo alumni who will be invited to sing some pieces with the current choir in our anniversary concert. The 10th Anniversary Gala Concert will take place on Saturday, June 8th in beautiful Dominion-Chalmers United Church. We will look forward to singing chorister favourites from the past 10 years as well as premiering a new work or two composed just for us for this occasion. Our host for the evening will be CBC’s Laurence Wall and special guest (and long-time Cantiamo friend!) Kathy Armstrong will lead us drumming and dancing in Gahu! The Cantiamo Training Choir will make a cameo appearance as well.
Plans are in the works to create a double CD which will include recordings from past years of Cantiamo as well as a live recording of the Gala 10th Anniversary concert. We will also be creating a commemorative 10th Anniversary pin that will go to all alumni, past and future. Presentation of this pin, at the door of our concerts, will allow alumni a discounted ticket price when coming back to hear the Cantiamo concerts. Once a Cantaimo girl – always a Cantiamo girl!
Plans are also underway to have Cantiamo participate in Festival 500 in Newfoundland in July 2013. This opportunity will be open to the current Cantiamo girls as well as any interested alumni. The Festival runs from Wed. July 3 to Wed. July 10. Check out www.festival500.com for more details. Participating in this festival in our 2004 – 2005 season was the first big event taken on by the original choir and we want to celebrate by feeling the thrill of being a part of this fantastic experience in Newfoundland once again!
It is difficult to believe that the Cantiamo Girls Choir of Ottawa has reached the 10 year anniversary! There are many, many wonderful memories to share and so many more to create with current choristers, alumni and our families and audiences! Happy Anniversary! Always sing!
– Jackie Hawley