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Concordia Concert Choir on Tour: Getting Personal in Slave Lake

Posted on: May 2, 2019
Trusting that the sun will show up, at RF Staples High School, Westlock


With exams behind them, the students in the Concordia Concert Choir embarked May 1 on tour into northern Alberta, and just over the border into BC. The group was a huge hit in short concerts at Westlock’s elementary and high schools, before they headed to Slave Lake for the first concert last night. The tour continues with concerts in Dawson Creek, Grande Prairie, and Valleyview before concluding with a hometown sing on Sunday, May 5 (details below).

Each year students look forward to this opportunity to showcase their repertoire among farther-flung communities, representing the calibre of Concordia’s music program and extending the school’s reputation while broadening their own perspectives. The annual tour is a chance for them to develop more deeply as a group and as individuals, while also establishing connections with the families with whom they billet. Singers stay in groups of two or three at billet homes, enjoying the warmth of this gracious hospitality and conversation as well as the bag lunches provided for the next day, leaving behind fond memories and a more personal image of Concordia. Traditionally the choir then brings the repertoire back to Edmonton for a concluding concert before the “hometown crowd.”

Yesterday a personal introduction to Slave Lake came from chorister Shanika Adamkewicz, who shared insights about the town as well as her own family’s experience with the 2011 fire that precipitated their relocation to Leduc. She pointed out the town’s murals and led a troupe of choristers down the “bear trails” (closed down once migrating bears are sighted). She also organized the choir’s tour of the Native Friendship Centre, a facility including that includes a museum, thrift shop, soup kitchen, counselling resources, and activity center. The choristers gave a short impromptu performance for the elders there, who were visibly moved by the music, the first time several of them had ever heard a choir sing (some turned up at the concert later). The audience at St. Peter’s Ecumenical Church that evening likewise deeply appreciated the concert, and the memory Pastor Blessing Shambare called to mind of Concordia’s generous post-fire support in sending the town clothing and emergency supplies eight years ago. This morning choristers will reassemble at the church and bid their billet hosts farewell before moving on to connect with the community of Dawson Creek, BC.

All are heartily invited to catch the Concert Choir on one of their tour stops or at the home concert. This year’s tour bears the hopeful title When the Sun Comes (and this morning it finally has!). The full arc of the circle of life, full of rich and tender imagery both sensory and spiritual, threads through this portrait of the cycle of seasons. The universality of this life cycle is reflected in a mix of sacred and secular repertoire old and new from Canada and beyond. This tour concludes the Concordia Concert Choir’s year growing under the direction of conductor Jordan Van Biert.

May 1-4: Tour info here

May 5: Home concert
3 pm at St. Timothy’s Church, 8420 145 Street, Edmonton
More info here