Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Preview: Musicata’s With One Accord Gets Second Chance

It’s not often that a performer receives a second chance at an opening night; however, local choir Musicata has proven it excels at second chances.

The choir, previously known as The John Laing Singers, underwent a change of identity just in time for its 2016-2017 season. Now entering their third season as Musicata: Hamilton’s Voices, the choir has also found a new performance home at the Central Presbyterian Church on Charlton.

If a new name and new venue wasn’t enough, the choir’s first concert of the season was postponed due to the ice storm on Sunday, December 1. Now rescheduled for Sunday, December 15, the choir promises an afternoon full of holiday music and an unexpected festive instrument in an accordion soloist, which has inspired the concert’s name, “With One Accord.”

Canadian Accordion soloist Michael Bridge will join the choir for this one-night only concert. Named as the first accordionist to grace CBC’s “30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30,” Bridge already has a number of impressive solo appearances under his belt, including performances with the Boston Pops, Edmonton and Lethbridge Symphony Orchestras. No stranger to performing with choirs, Bridge is well-known for his 2017-2018 season performance with Toronto’s Elmer Iseler Singers in which he accompanied David Lang’s musical interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Matchgirl. For this performance, the Toronto Star noted Bridge’s talents, particularly his “remarkable subtlety in his production of sound.”

In addition to the uniqueness of an accordion soloist, the choir has also tapped Toronto-based composer Benjamin Gabbay to write a piece of music that will be premiered at the December 15 concert. Entitled Prelude to Winter, the work is written for choir and accordion. Gabbay found inspiration in American writer Elizabeth Stoddard’s “November,” an 1895 poem that describes the mixed emotions that come with the changing seasons, and ultimately, the love of this change. For Gabbay, this text accurately explored Christmas themes in a more reflective light than other, more mainstream holiday carols.  

For those looking for more traditional holiday content, rest assured; Musicata’s With One Accord concert also promises more explicit Christmas content- both popular and non. At last year’s concert, a highlight was a twelve-minute long version of the Twelve Days of Christmas with an arrangement that cleverly wove its way through music related to many of the key items listed in the song. While there’s no guarantee the song will be performed again, it is just one example of the ensemble’s ingenuity in presenting unique and interesting holiday music.

Who: Musicata
What: With One Accord
Where:  Central Presbyterian Church (165 Charlton Avenue West)
When: December 15 at 3:00pm
Tickets: $25, with discounts available for students & seniors

Feature photo of Musicata courtesy of Craig Logue.
In keeping with of the values of this blog, it should be noted that the writer of this article edited funding grants for Musicata from 2015-2017.

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