“If you want to see and hear something completely unlike anything you have seen or heard before, Corazón can be that thing.”
That’s Tyler Isaacs-DeJong, 22, a seven-year veteran of Corazón, pictured below, talking about the group’s year-end concerts coming up on Friday and Saturday.
“We spend the year having incredible moments and sharing an amazing experience,” Isaacs-DeJong says, “and at the year-end concerts all that energy and that work is focused into those two evenings. That is the moment we say to the community ‘This is what we are all about.’
“It is not just about music but about the community, and (director Allison Girvan’s) mentorship and the relationship of the members between one another. It is about this place of belonging.”
Maia Jorgensen, 20, who has been in the group eight years, agrees the year-end concerts in June are always special. “It is the most heartfelt concert we do all year,” she says.
Corazón is a 63-voice auditioned choir of Nelson-area singers ranging in age from 14 to 22. The group is known, not just in the Kootenays but across western Canada, for an innovative approach to choral singing that includes a surprising repertoire of music new and old from around the world, creative placement and movement of singers on the stage and around the room, body percussion, choreography, and an emotional engagement with the audience that is always a surprise to first-timers.
Lalin (pronounced la-LEEN), a group of 15 of the more experienced members of Corazón including Isaacs-DeJong and Jorgenson, will share the stage at the concerts.
Corazón has just returned from participating in the Podium conference and festival in Edmonton.
With six other youth choirs from around western Canada (a total of about 300 singers), Corazón performed the opening concert in the 1,900-seat Winspear Centre, garnering a rave review from an Edmonton Journal music critic.
They spent three long days rehearsing with the other choirs in Edmonton before the concert.
“Even though it was insanely long hours, I never wanted to stop,” says Jorgensen. “I sailed through the four days without the need to be tired or take a break.”
And the resulting concert was “just unforgettable. It was so magical to see everyone come together as one choir. I felt super proud of Corazón, seeing the people in our choir looking like they were having the time of their lives, and seeing Allison watching us, seeing how happy she looked. That never gets old.”
Isaacs-DeJong says singing in the mass choir made him feel “I don’t have a body any more. I am one part of this huge voice.”
Asked about her favourite pieces the group will perform this week, Jorgensen names “Selene’s Boat,” with lyrics by Girvan, music by Girvan’s husband Don Macdonald, and accompaniment by choir member Graham Jarvis-Lingard on Hapi drum, a unique tuned steel drum.
And she likes “Indodana,” a traditional Zulu piece from South Africa.
“The first time Allison played it it for us, it made our jaws drop. And it has stayed like that all year, so beautiful, every time we sing it.”
There will be four shows, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, and at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday. In the past few years the 850 tickets for these four concerts have sold out.
The concerts are at the Nelson United Church, but tickets are being sold by the Capitol Theatre box office in person from noon to 4, Tuesday through Friday, or online at capitoltheatre.bc.ca.