On June 9, up to 300 singers will get together in the arena at the Nelson and District Community Complex to perform five songs. The experience is open to anyone who loves to sing, regardless of experience or ability.
Local choir director Allison Girvan is organizing the project for the Capitol Theatre. She says there is something inexpressible about the experience of singing with hundreds of others.
“Once you are talking about singers in the hundreds, there is an excitement that you can’t reproduce any other way. To be able to share that experience with local singers is really exciting to me. This will hopefully be the largest choir event in Nelson’s history.”
Registrants will be provided in advance with scores for the five songs and the singers will learn them on their own with online rehearsal recordings.
“My hope is that if you sign up with friends or family or a choir of your own, that you can practise these things in groups so there is a social elements before the actual day,” Girvan says.
The commitment is only for the day of the performance. Singers will get together for a rehearsal for the first time on the day of the performance, then take a half hour break to admit the audience, then sing the five songs for the audience.
The songs are Song of Life by the aboriginal poet Sandy Scofield, the Peter Gabriel version of Flume by Bon Iver, Fix You by Coldplay, Your One and Only Life by Susan Crowe, and Siphonono, a South African piece with movement.
Registration must be done through the Capitol Theatre, and registrants will be asked to provide information on previous choral singing experience and on their vocal range. Girvan says she will help registrants sort out their vocal range if needed.
The registration fee is $7. The performance seating will be organized by part. Singers 12 and under will need to sing the same part as an accompanying adult in order to be seated together at the arena.
Girvan’s youth ensemble Corazón will be participating in the event, as will 20 student choral singers from Community Through Choral Art, a course taught by Jennifer Moir at the University of Western Ontario.
“The students’ mandate is to experience choral events that are shaping and changing community,” says Girvan, “so she is coming here with her students to help set this event up and to participate.”
Part of the students’ mark for the course will be based on their journals about the event.
“It is a beautiful thing to know that there are young people who will be quantifying in their own minds what a powerful experience this can be, and using that to shape their futures as music educators,” Girvan says.