With half of its 67 members just back from an exciting trip to Cuba, Nelson’s celebrated choir Corazón is getting ready for its annual year-end concert.
“For most people in Nelson it is the only chance they get to hear Corazón,” says director Allison Girvan, “because almost everything else we do is out of town. And it is the culmination of our year so it is emotionally charged. For a lot of the older singers it is their last performance with Corazón and that emotional energy drives the performance.”
Corazón is an auditioned choir with an age range of 12-21. The group has passionate fans in Edmonton, Banff and Vancouver (and now Havana) as a result of performances over the years. In 2007 Corazón was named one of Nelson’s official cultural ambassadors.
“As usual, audiences will hear many languages and many styles,” says Girvan, “music from across the ages from Bach right up to a piece by Chic Gamine.”
Butterfly Woman by Chic Gamine is a compelling contemporary vocal piece that owes something to R&B, soul, jazz and world music.
There will be three performances on June 2 at the Nelson United Church at 2 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale at Otter Books. The concerts are likely to sell out, so advance purchase is recommended. The 2 p.m. performance will feature a song from the children’s choir VoixVive, also directed by Girvan.
What’s unique about Corazón?
“The singers are encouraged to express their individuality,” says Girvan. “While keeping the prime directive of singing together and being together.”
It’s that expression of individuality, one that goes beyond everyday teenage life, which proves to be so moving for many adults in Corazón’s audiences.
“There is a constant barrage of negativity about teenagers,” Girvan says, “and we mostly hear about the destructive or irritating things that teenagers do. To be confronted with a group of young singers who are so obviously committed to communicating a message of positive hope is often overwhelming for people who are not prepared for that.”
Asked what she likes most about directing Corazón, Girvan replies, “The fact that for 12 years I have been able to share in the lives of young people at the cusp of them fledging their wings. It’s the most spectacular thing, to see people ready to jump into the next stage of their lives and having a front row seat for that.”
In April about half of the members of Corazon spent a week in Cuba, on a pre-planned itinerary jam-packed with music — meeting other performing groups, singing for them and being sung to, collaborating, and learning. The energy and inspiration from that trip is expected to find its way into the June 2 hometown performance.
For more information call 250-352-7670.