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Corazón youth choir eager to perform locally following Kaleid Festival trip

By Contributor
May 20th, 2014

Nelson’s celebrated Corazón youth choir will be performing four concerts at the Nelson United Church on May 31 and June 3.

Forty-six of the group’s 65 members, with their director, Allison Girvan, have just returned from several days as the official Choir in Residence at the Kaleid Festival in Woodstock, Ontario.

Jennifor Moir, the organizer of the festival and a prominent musical director and teacher in Ontario, said having Corazón at the festival was a dream that started when she first saw then ten years ago at a music festival in Banff.

“The way they walked into the space, I knew something extraordinary was about to happen,” Moir, explained. “On stage they stood with such confidence. They stood tall like they knew who they were, proud but humble. I was in tears before they opened their mouths. Then they started to sing, and I was an emotional wreck from then on.”

At the festival, Corazón spent three 12-hour days with hundreds of singers ranging in age from five to 90, learning, mentoring, being mentored, rehearsing, and performing on their own and as part of several mass choir events. They also performed with, and were delighted to hang out with, the members of the internationally famous a cappella vocal group Rajaton, from Finland.

“To have Corazón here was inspiring for the little kids who are looking up to them like big brothers and sisters,” said Moir, “but it was equally inspiring to the high school and adult singers to see that kind of example, and what kind of dedication they must have, to sing at that calibre.

“They all saw that these are “normal kids” singing like that, from a small town in the mountains of B.C. That was an inspiration to everyone.’’

Allison Girvan says she’s excited about the repertoire for the upcoming concerts in Nelson.

“We have, as usual, several pieces with movement, one of them with body percussion. For me, the most unique piece is Naalah, sung in Urdu, dealing with loss and healing. Although the text was written over 150 years ago, the sentiments are as resonant today as when it was penned. Other favourites of mine this year are the Haitian Papa Loco and Eric Whitacre’s transcendent A Boy and a Girl, with lyrics by the poet Octavio Paz.”

Corazón is an auditioned choir whose members range in age from 13 to 21. For the past 12 years the group has been a powerful incubator of musical talent in Nelson. Its performances extend beyond typical choral format, often using choreography, percussion, unusual configurations of singers on stage and around the room, and a focus on connecting positively with the audience.

The concerts will run at the Nelson United Church at 2 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, and at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3.

The June 3 concert will also include a performance by Lalin, a group of 18 young adult singers most of whom are also members of Corazón.

Tickets are available the Capitol Theatre Box office in person, or by phone at 352-6363) or online at Adults are $18, students and seniors $12, and balcony seating $12. In past years these concerts have sold out well in advance.

For more information please contact Corazon’s manager, Bill Metcalfe, at 352-7670.

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