Island Voices set to Illuminate evening for fans of chamber music

Saturday, Island Voices Chamber Choir will take audiences on a journey.

The word “illuminate” has many meanings – it can mean “to brighten with light”, or “to throw light on a subject”, or to “enlighten with knowledge or understanding”.

This Nov. 26, Island Voices Chamber Choir will take audiences on a journey through the many facets of illumination, a journey in which they will experience the full range of human emotions, from joy to sorrow, through love, faith, hope, and even a little discomfort.

Illuminations is the brainchild of conductor Jenn Forsland, who has artfully woven together pieces from a wide variety of genres.

“Illumination can be literal, figurative, cultural, spiritual, transformative,” said Forsland. “It is my hope that the pieces in this program show these many different aspects in ways that are both enjoyable and thought-provoking.”

At this dark time of year, light is a common theme in music, and several of the program’s songs reflect this. Northern Lights invokes a sense of awe and wonder, while Gordon Lightfoot’s Song for a Winter’s Night reminds us of cozy winter nights.

Selene’s Boat takes us into moonlight on the shore.

The program also includes spirituals and spirituality – the rousing Unclouded Day, the introspective No Time, and the stirring A Trumpet Sounds Within-a My Soul, complete with amazing trumpet accompaniment by Brent Kellas.

In a more classical vein, Biebl’s Ave Maria makes you feel like you’re ascending into heaven.

A featured work is by Vancouver composer Larry Nickel, using a text by the 13th century nun, Mechtchild of Magdeburg.

“I can’t believe something written 800 years ago could seem so contemporary,” said soprano Jo-Anne Preston. “The nun says ‘I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me’ and basically says ‘if you show me the way, I can pass it on’ – kind of like playing it forward. And it’s fun to sing – so many styles all rolled into one!”

Preparing this concert has been a journey for the singers as well.

Lammaa Badaa Yatathannaa, so very famous in Syria, and Dindirin’s Spanish influence have helped them develop insight into other cultures.

They have felt the energy in Handel’s Awake the Trumpet and the levity in The Sleigh, and there have been “ah-ha” moments too – Hymn of Acxiom will really have the audience thinking.

Illuminations will be performed on Saturday, Nov. 26 at Comox United Church, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Benjamin Moore House of Color (Courtenay) and Blue Heron Books (Comox). All tickets are $20. Students may attend for free if accompanied by an adult. For more information call 250-923-0303 or 250-898-4773, or email jo-anne.preston@shaw.ca.

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