When audience members arrive at Touchstones Nelson for the latest concert from youth choir Corazón, they will be met with 67 singers facing the centre of the room while they fill the space with beautiful music.
“My idea is that it’s more like an art installation than a performance,” said choir director Allison Girvan, who will bring 67/360 to the gallery on Saturday, April 11.
The 25-minute program will consist of four pieces, all sung while audience members mill on foot in their midst.
“The audience is free to move around as they might at an art gallery. They can wander around and look at things during the performance. It creates an entirely different environment,” said Girvan.
The concert is a multi-year tradition that sells out quickly. Tickets are now available from Touchstones. Singer Tyler Isaacs-DeJong, a long-term member, said the concert is a unique opportunity.
“If you’ve never been interested in choral music before, then give us a chance. Corazón isn’t like other choirs. We have a different repertoire than you might expect, and we like to shake things up.”
One song he particularly enjoys sharing is Luk Luk Lumbu, a fast-paced, celebratory Indonesian tune.
“It’s so cool. It’s always fun to sing in another language. It’s super fun and goofy and playful,” he said.
Which stands in stark contrast to the arrangement of Naked As We Came by Iron and Wine, a comparatively low-key song.
“That’s a super special song to me,” said Isaacs-DeJong. “It’s a really powerful arrangement and it’s a song that has emotional resonance. It’s a somber love song, very sleepy, and steeped in metaphors. It doesn’t beat you over the head with ‘ooooh-babies.’”
Girvan said her repertoire has a social justice element, and she selects pieces that bridge cultural barriers.
“I’m a firm believer that there’s a lot to be learned from singing songs from other cultures,” she said.
She said the venue has served them well in the past.
“It’s nice to have something that feels less traditional, like a hall or a church. I’ve been dying for a while to sing in the aquatic center but I’m not sure how that could work,” she said.
“Touchstones is a nice reverberant space, and there aren’t too many like that in Nelson. It was a dream to be able to use it.”
Isaacs-DeJong said his years with the choir have been formative. He credited most of that to Girvan’s guidance.
“She’s really nurturing and almost like a second mother for me. She’s very fair. She never talks down to us, but treats us like fellow artists.”
Now a mentor in the group, he’s been sharing his expertise with younger singers, an experience he found cathartic. While traveling to a festival in Ontario last year he experienced a moment of musical transcendence.
“It made me realize what singing, what art can do for a person. There are these places it can take you, and the spiritual and personal fulfillment you can get out of it is like nothing else in the world.”
Tickets for the show are $10 and are available from Touchstones Nelson at 250-352-9813.