In honour of Earth hour, the first half of the concert was performed with lights out. Holy Trinity Church looked beautiful in tiny pools of candlelight stretching all the way back.
Just how dark was it? Well, I got to open the show with my colleagues and co-conductors, Becca Whitla and Alan Gasser, singing a just-learned arrangement of the Afro-Cuban “Obbatala” by Glenda del Monte Escalante. You can judge for yourself:
Yep. Pretty dark. That darkness brought a huge gift, though: intense listening. Like everyone’s attention and energy brought us all palpably closer together. Makes me think we should perform in near-dark a lot more.
Echo sounded amazing. There were definitely several (many?) moments that more than a few members weren’t sure what to expect next, and we didn’t get lots of rehearsal time on a few joint numbers, but Echo members committed to the spirit of the performance and sang with great commitment and happiness. And that was clear from their performance. I had a few people say to me afterwards that the Choir sang with such visible and audible joy. Particularly moving was the Chris Rawling’s Earth Chant that Echo sang in round behind Chris. And the close of the show, singing “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” with Ken Whitely…so wonderful!
The performers were amazing. Amazing in their performances to be sure, but also incredibly warm and generous in spirit. Personal highlights: getting introduced to the music of Cameroonian artist Njacko Backo on kalimba; the stupendous performance by Gurpreet Chana–otherwise known as the Tabla Guy–playing his composition “Gratitude” on a percussion-like instrument that was recently invented (anyone out there remember what it’s called? A bit like an upside down steel pan, but more bell-like sound…); a wonderful and hilarious story by Marylyn Peringer; an incredible spoken word piece by Michael St. George called “I do” about his commitment to art and social justice; a raucous rendition of “It Ain’t Necessarily So” by David Anderson, accompanying himself with accordian…
I could go on, actually. There wasn’t one disappointing moment in the evening. Even the snacks were amazing.
Thanks for a wonderful evening, everyone.
If you missed this show, you’ll get a chance to catch Echo’s Spring concert on the afternoon of May 1, 2011. Details coming soon…