After a year of planning and preparation, the Cantiamo Girls Choir of Ottawa celebrated its 10th anniversary with a very special concert at beautiful Dominion-Chalmers United Church on Sat. June 8th, 2013.
More than anything, the Cantiamo Girls Choir is about its music and its girls! This was very evident at our concert celebration. The repertoire for the concert was chosen by choristers, past and present and each piece was introduced with a story as to its significance in the life of the choristers. Alumni had been invited to sing in this concert as well. It was a wonderful surprise to have 20 alumni show up to rehearse on the morning of the concert! The sound was stunning! What a thrill to have so many talented, experienced Cantiamo girls, past and present, singing together!
Part of the Cantiamo mandate is to promote new compositions, especially by Canadian composers. In our 10 year history we have premiered over 20 compositions. This was celebrated by premiering four new works at this concert! Bill Perison’s Little Things for the Cantiamo Training Choir was a sweet addition to the Training Choir set. Jussi Chydenius, our bass singing friend from Rajaton, treated us to two wonderful pieces – The Kiss and The Look and long-time Cantiamo supporter James Wright offered us The Arrow and the Song.
The morning was full of excitement as alumni gathered in the church just ahead of rehearsal time. There were even alumni from the first years of Cantiamo and everyone was very happy to connect with one another again. The rehearsal was extremely satisfying as many of the girls have gone on to music study or music careers or have kept singing in other areas so they were in good shape to perform well with only one rehearsal.
While the rehearsal was happening in the sanctuary, there was a fabulous team of volunteers in the kitchen decorating 500 cupcakes which had been premade by another volunteer. The blue and white star theme decorated the top of the cakes and the hall for the reception. Simple and elegant and never over done – just the way we like it!
The evening concert was hosted by CBC’s Adrian Harewood. Cantiamo has sung for CBC fundraisers and has also been on Choral Concert and it was very nice to have Adrian represent CBC as part of our celebration! He was the perfect host – charming, relaxed, welcoming, adaptable (!), and – he even sang! His personal choral stories and warm personality added so much to the evening. We really appreciated his willingness to celebrate with us! Our other special guest was Kathy Armstrong and her Baobab Youth Performers. Kathy and Baobab are long-time friends of Cantiamo and it really felt complete to be able to celebrate singing and dancing Gahu with Kathy and her group! The concert ended with the very first song we ever sang If I Were the Moon by James Wright. We were very happy to have Dr. Wright accompany his piece for us just like the first time we sang it together ten years ago.
After the concert, it was lovely to mingle with what seemed to be most of the over 400 audience members that attended the concert! It felt great to be amongst so many supportive, enthusiastic friends of Cantiamo – fellow conductors, composers, teachers, families (current and alumni and future!), colleagues and Cantiamo followers.
Congratulations to the Cantiamo girls – present and past – on a spectacular performance! Thank you to everyone who contributed to this joyful celebration of Cantaimo – its music and its girls. As we head in to the next decade, we look forward to more music, leadership and outreach. We will look forward to singing all together again at the 20th anniversary in 2023! Once a Cantiamo girl, always a Cantiamo girl!
– Jackie Hawley, Artistic Director