Mt. A choirs come together to tell a story about life’s journeys

On Sunday, October 30, Mt. A held “Journeys,” a choir performance by the Mount Allison Elliott Chorale, the Mount Allison Choral Society, and the new Mount Allison Children’s Choir. 

Many students at Mt. A (including myself) may be unfamiliar with how the choirs at Mt. A operate. Before looking into it, I knew that Mt. A choirs would occasionally host shows, but I did not know who was part of them or how they were organized.

The ensembles at Mt. A are open not only to music students, but to all students, along with community members “who demonstrate the competency and spirit to contribute fully,” according to the Mt. A website.

The Mount Allison Elliott Chorale is named after Carleton Elliott (1928-2003), a former professor at Mt. A. This choir is made up of more experienced singers and requires an audition. This year, for the first time in the history of the choir, the group consists only of sopranos and altos. 

The Mount Allison Choral Society does not require auditions. According to the Mt. A website, the choir typically consists of 30-60 members, who are a mix of students, faculty and staff members, and community members.

Both the Mount Allison Elliott Chorale and the Mount Allison Choral Society count for one credit per year.

The “Journeys” performance was directed by Dr. Kiera Galway, an assistant professor from St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The concert did not start with an introduction. Instead, the afternoon began with “Ambe,” a piece by Andrew Balfour sung by the Choral Society. The introduction to the concert was given after the opening number.  

After the Choral Society performed a few numbers, Mt. A’s new Children’s choir took the stage. The choir consisted of around a dozen singers from ages 5–11 and started rehearsals only a couple weeks prior to the concert.  

The Children’s Choir performed “Zum Gali Gali,” an Israeli folk song. 

Next, the Elliott Chorale was introduced and performed a medley of songs by Einojuhani Rautavaara.

Some songs were introduced with background information, one being “Ave Maria,” sung by the Elliott Chorale and composed by David MacIntyre.  The piece was inspired by research MacIntyre did on paranormal activity in post-war Bosnia.

The concert ended with songs performed by combined ensembles.

Annika Williams, fourth-year Bachelor of Music student and member of the Elliott Chorale, said that, “today’s concert was themed around the idea of a journey and the many different types of journeys we take in life.”

In terms of music selection, Williams said, “at the beginning of the semester we brainstormed a bit about what journey means to all of us, then Dr. Galway let those thoughts guide her repertoire choices so we got to sing some music that really resonated with us.”

This is the first time Williams has worked in a choir consisting of only altos and sopranos. 

The concert had a large turnout from students and faculty, as well as community members. The singers performed well and with great enthusiasm. I was delighted to see so many firsts in Mount Allison’s choir history. 

Both the Choral Society and the Elliott Chorale will perform again on December 4th in a concert titled “Joy” at the University Chapel.

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