This past Monday, the Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa wrapped up its 17th season by sharing with the Cantiamo community of family, choristers and friends a collection of music, art, and special performances. The end of this particular season has been anything but ordinary so in that spirit our virtual end of season event was not at all ordinary but instead, meaningful, creative, fun and inspirational.
Leading us off and warming up the crowd, our Founding Artistic Director, Jackie Hawley who has a knack for getting parents and kids alike up off their chairs and singing! Not to be outdone…wonderful singing was shared by our brave Training Choir, Apprentice Choir and Girls Choir soloists who performed “We are Circling”, by Buffy Saint Marie. An encore of “Sing a Rainbow”, by Arthur Hamilton was requested by our Primary Choir choristers who joined in from their homes, and excitedly waved their coloured scarves for added entertainment!
And it was moving, somewhat sad, yet inspirational to hear from our graduating Cantiamo Girls: Dahlia, Emma, Gaby, Megan and Sophia. These exceptional young women touched all of our hearts as they spoke directly to the younger choristers with kind and generous wisdom, and with great feeling they thanked their role model, Jackie Hawley. Some of these graduates have been singing with Jackie since they were 7 years old, so a few tears were definitely in order.
Like every season, Cantiamo will commission at least one Canadian composer to create a choral work specifically for our choirs, that we then premiere in concert. Regardless of the hurdles faced this Spring, Jackie Hawley and the Cantiamo Girls Choir were determined to perform this year’s commission, “Stones”, by Rose Vaughan, arranged by Canadian composer, Laura Hawley. This stunning work was taught and rehearsed completely in the virtual space.
The Girls Choir choristers learned, and then performed at home and recorded each of their individual parts. The technical work of putting it all together into one piece was completed by our incredible parent volunteer, Tom Duxbury of Live Sound Ottawa, and with Jackie Hawley’s help in music editing, “Stones”, was ultimately brought to life. A great accomplishment, and an interesting part of Cantiamo’s music history!
The wonders of technology also allowed us to welcome to our event the Juno Award winning, Gryphon Trio! The Trio performed “Roses and Violets” by Canandian composer Scott Good and accompanied our Cantiamo Girls Apprentice Choir singers. Gorgeous music, performed by Canadian music “royalty”, what a nice surprise!
Our final special moment allowed for all of us to participate. Choral Education Team member, Dian Wilkie on piano, accompanied by her husband, cellist Brandon Wilkie, performed live from their home our final piece for the evening’s event, “Listen to My Song”, by Andy Beck. The meaning of this very personal and beautiful music was captured by the musicianship of Dian and Brandon, the chorister’s artwork, and what I am sure was every attendee at home, singing – their song.
Congratulations to Cantiamo’s talented team, and all of our choristers and families for your dedication and support. We have captured into a Word Art Cloud (at the top of this post) the many positive messages and feelings that the choristers and audience/participants shared with us during and after this season’s wrap-up. It is a great reminder why we should all keep singing!