In recognition of UN International Day for the Elimination of Racism, the Community Justice Centre (CJC), Comox Valley Youth Music Centre (CYMC) and other partner groups are presenting the Vancouver Island premiere of Larry Nickel’s orchestral-choral composition, Requiem for Peace: an international call for peace and reconciliation.
The performance is on Monday, March 14, at Mark Isfeld High School, beginning at 7 p.m.
The performance will be hosted by the Justice Centre’s patron Iona Campagnolo, B.C.’s 27th Lieutenant-Governor, with introductory remarks by Susan Barr, chair of the board of trustees of School District 71 (Comox Valley).
Barr will speak about her own experiences with changing public standards in terms of hate-motivated speech or displays and the harmful effects that result from insufficient public response to these incidents. These are important issues which were the subject of the district’s recently adopted policy on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Requiem will feature the voices of both Cantiamo Chamber Ensemble and Island Voices Chamber Choir in this joint concert. A 50-piece full symphonic orchestra has been assembled using the talented Comox Valley orchestral community, under the direction of Maestro John Van Duersen, CYMC’s summer orchestral program director.
The combined musical resources of the Comox Valley will be supplemented by guest soloists Amy Lelliot, soprano, Shelly Brown, alto, and Andrey Andreychik, baritone. Andreychik is a visiting doctoral student at the UBC School of Music.
The audience is invited to remain following the conclusion of the concert for refreshments and a reception with the artists and performers.
The Requiem was written in the classical style of other well-known requiems. “Remembrance, regret, remorse, repentance, reconciliation, redemption, renewal, requiem (rest); these are the themes that run through Requiem for Peace. It is a message of hope for this world,” says the composer in his notes for the work.
“I am an eclectic composer rooted in a conservative choral tradition and strongly influenced by several favourite choral composers: Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Maurice Ravel, Herbert Howells, C.V. Stanford, Vaughn Williams, Samuel Barber and John Rutter, among others,” he added.
Publisher Peter Martin once referred to Larry Nickel as the John Rutter of Canada, alluding to his British ecclesiastical style. Dr. Stephen Chatman (head of Composition at UBC) wrote the following, after hearing Requiem for Peace: “Larry Nickel’s work poignantly expresses a universal hope for peace: a major work on a grand scale — an all-encompassing, all-inclusive work, which demonstrates craft, genius, moral and religious conviction, and a profound sense of musical integrity.”
The Requiem will be a musical conclusion to the Community Dialogue being held on Sunday, March 13 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay.
The Dialogue, called Give Hate No Space, will explore the experience of hate by the diverse cultural and ethnic communities in the Comox Valley, and possible community responses to such events. All participants in the Dialogue will be provided with a complimentary ticket to the Requiem performance on Monday evening.
The Community Dialogue and the Requiem performance are financially supported by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia (Embrace BC program) and by the following community groups and organizations: CYMC, CJC, Comox Valley Black Community, Comox District Teachers’ Association (Social Justice Committee), The Women’s Resource Centre, Wachiay Friendship Centre, and the Creative Employment Access Centre.
Tickets for the March 14 performance of the Requiem are adults $10, students $5, and are available through the Sid Williams Ticket Centre, Laughing Oyster Book Shop at 286 Fifth St., Courtenay, or from the Community Justice Centre at 450 Eighth St., Courtenay.