Cantiamo Girls Choir of Ottawa 2014 – 2015: A Brief Overview
Music. Leadership. Outreach. These are the elements that guide the vision of the Cantiamo Girls Choir of Ottawa and its Training Choir. This 12th year of the choir continued to be strong in all of these areas.
Of course, it is the music that brings us all together in the first place. This year, the Cantiamo girls and the Training Choir choristers once again sang a wide variety of repertoire. Pieces were chosen for many reasons: to develop vocal tone (God Bless the Master, Al Shlosha), musical literacy skills (Three Amorous Airs, Earth Voices), artistic interpretation (When I am Silent, Donkey Riding) and self-expression (Letter from a Girl to the World, Can You Hear Me?). Sometimes repertoire is chosen because it is required for an invitational event (Midsummer Night’s Dream for the performance with the National Arts Centre (NAC) Orchestra on the NAC stage, Chanter for Music Monday), and sometimes it is chosen for a special message (Hearth and Fire, Holly Jolly Christmas). Pieces are even chosen just because we like them (Sister Song, Hine Ma Tov)!
It is always exciting to learn and share our music!
Leadership opportunities are frequent for the Cantiamo Girls Choir and the Training Choir. The mentoring program for Cantiamo girls working with the Training Choir is unique and highly valuable for all involved. Cantiamo girls sing alongside Training Choir choristers to support the sound and flow of phrase so that less experienced choristers can feel confident singing out when learning new music. This year, there was a mentor conductor as well. Within the Training Choir, returning members are encouraged to try harmony parts and to sometimes demonstrate to one another and step-up as leaders within the Training Choir. Cantiamo girls are also mentors within their choir level as they support new Cantiamo choristers.
Outreach/community engagement is a regular part of any Cantiamo year. In December 2014, we enjoyed our annual visit to the Royale Retirement Residence. The residents enjoyed the music and the handmade Christmas cards the girls presented to each senior. In addition, the educational outreach day for training teachers had a very significant impact on the community and it was very helpful to have Cantiamo alumni join us for that event. This year, both the Cantiamo choir and the Training Choir were a valuable part of the Choralfest 2015 school choral education festival for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. It is a proud part of the Cantiamo mandate that we actively and effectively support choral education in our schools.
In the forthcoming 2015 – 2016 season, we look forward to new repertoire, which will include new commissions that will continue Cantiamo’s commitment to premiering at least one new Canadian composition each season (this year we premiered Earth Voices by Laura Hawley). We will also continue leadership development with an exchange with Les Choristes Women’s Choir from the University of Western Ontario, and pursue our important outreach with our annual workshop day for teachers and Choralfest 2016.
Enthusiastic congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in another successful year of “music, leadership and outreach”. Beautiful music, happy faces and joyful hearts are once again the gifts we receive when “the life we give to beauty, returns to us again.” It is contributing together as a choral community with a common goal that allows us such a rich and rewarding experience every year.
Yours in song,
Founding Artistic Director