L-R: Malaika Horswill, Gillian Lippert and Laura Metcalfe are three former members of Corazón youth choir who were involved in the creation of Vancouver choir Gracenote. Photo: Will Johnson

Nelson hits a Gracenote

Vancouver choir will perform at Nelson United Church on Sunday

For once, Allison Girvan will get to sit in the audience.

The Nelson choral director, who recently brought Carmina Burana to the Kootenays and is best known for being the mastermind behind Corazón youth choir, will finally get to relax this Sunday as some of her former charges take the stage as part of Vancouver a capella choir Gracenote.

“Laura Metcalfe and Gillian Lippert and I all grew up singing with Corazón, then we all went off and did our own lives for a while, and then we found ourselves all in Vancouver and we realized we were missing that piece of home,” Malaika Horswill told the Star.

“Singing in a choir feels like being a part of a family. It had such a profound impact on us growing up, so we thought: let’s try and make this happen.”

They made a bunch of phone calls and ultimately came up with a group of 10 singers — a number that has since doubled — and decided to call themselves Gracenote. Now, with a couple of years experience under their belts, they’re looking to wow their hometown with a concert at the Nelson United Church.

When they first started meeting, Metcalfe hosted many of the early rehearsals in her Mount Pleasant living room, pushing the furniture out of the way so all the women could arrange themselves in a circle. There was enough room, but apparently there wasn’t enough sound-proofing.

“Our first performance we rented a yoga studio on Commercial Drive, and we had an audience of maybe 40 people. Everybody had to take off their shoes and sit on the floor, and we had some Christmas lights up to make the space our own,” said Metcalfe.

Things evolved from there. They’re now rehearsing out of a church while performing at venues all over the Lower Mainland. But when they come to Nelson this Sunday, it will be their first time coming to the Kootenays.

And Lippert can’t wait.

“It’s a really big deal for us to be able to come back home, because a lot of us are from here and learned to sing here. It’s interesting to be children together singing, then to come back together as adults and find our sound has changed,” she said.

“Because we’ve had more experiences in our lives, we’re able to relate to the lyrics in ways we couldn’t when we were younger. It’s not that there’s more heart in the music, it’s that it’s differently interpreted — even though sometimes it’s the same songs we’re singing.”

One of the most potent offerings? Their rendition of “Come back home” by Danielle Knibbe.

“That song’s about all these different locations, and the one talking about B.C. really hits home for me. It’s about rambling in the wilderness, and I was home-schooled so I did a whole lot of rambling.”

Lippert said the lyrics speak powerfully to the women in the choir. When asked whether the trio could share them during an interview in Cottonwood Falls Park, the trio gladly belted out a short excerpt that online readers can see on video at nelsonstar.com.

“Come back to the mountains where I held you once, place your feet in icy rivers, turn your face up to the sun — we’ll ramble in the wilderness until the day is done.”

There will be two shows at the Nelson United Church on Sunday at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the Capitol Theatre box office.

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