Spring: the season of Nature’s awakening, and the season of love for all mortal beings! AURA Chamber Choir celebrates this “amorous and fair season” with Songs of Nature, a potpourri of European choral music that spans five centuries.
The title of our concert is taken from a set of partsongs by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak that celebrates the wondrous beauty and spirituality of the natural world. AURA will perform three selections from this set, and four of his Six Moravian Lyrics, a lighthearted but touching glimpse of village romance. Both sets will be performed in English.
The program’s featured work is by Dvorak’s greatest fan and booster, Johannes Brahms: the Liebeslieder Waltzer (Lovesong Waltzes), op. 52. In this set for mixed chorus and piano four hands, Brahms brilliantly pours the passion of the Gypsy musicians he heard in Viennese cafes into the vessel of the waltz and brews a drink that burns with the intoxication of love in all its forms: blissful and sweet, desolate and bitter, and so much more besides. At the keyboard we have AURA’s award-winning pianist Marjorie Close and special guest Terry Logan, noted voice teacher and choir director in her own right.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine drags on, AURA has committed to performing a Ukrainian piece in every program until Ukraine prevails. For Songs of Nature, Dr. Pitt‑Brooke has prepared an edition of Kyrylo Stetsenko’s SON (A Dream), a partsong that recounts a prisoner’s dream of “a happy summer time” that crumbles in a bitter awakening. Many thanks to Vernon Proms impresario Natalia Polchenko for her help with Ukrainian pronunciation.
And AURA will delight in celebrating founding director Imant Raminsh’s 80th birthday with a performance of his chorus “The Peace of Wild Things” under his own direction.
For details of the performance venue and time, please see the concert poster above.
AURA Chamber Choir has chosen a new Artistic Director: Dr. Terry Pitt-Brooke. Charged with renewing AURA’s mission as a first-rate amateur concert ensemble and developing innovative, exciting and entertaining repertoire, Dr. Pitt-Brooke has brought deep vocal and musical insights to bear, with exciting results.
Pitt-Brooke’s academic résumé is impressive. After undergraduate studies in Composition at the University of Toronto, he studied Conducting under Jon Washburn in Vancouver and took a Master’s Degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison,where he studied under legendary choral conductor Robert Fountain. He comes to AURA having completed a DMA in Choral Conducting (with a minor in Orchestral Conducting) at the University of Arizona.
Since returning to the Okanagan, Dr. Pitt-Brooke has become an integral part of the music fabric of the area, being involved with the Vernon Proms, conducting two choirs, and working with Opera Kelowna. His past experience as conductor and educator with school, church, community and professional choirs, and as a singer in the Vancouver Chamber Choir, has made him uniquely qualified to take on his new role as Artistic Director of Vernon’s AURA Chamber Choir.
Under the direction of our conductor, Dr. Terry Pitt-Brooke, Aura presents its fall 2022 program at All Saints Anglican Church on Saturday December 3rd at 7.00pm and Sunday December 4th at 2pm. Tickets are available at Wentworth Music, from choir members and at the door.
The program of seasonal music features French composers Cesar Franck, Francis Poulenc and Guillaume Costeley along with Bright Angels Sing by Ukrainian composer Kyrylo Stetsenko.
The wonderful harmony of Hector Berlioz’s Shepeherd’s Farewell will bring a great smile to your face.
We will conclude the program, accompanied by a small chamber orchestra and Marjorie Close on the pipe organ, with Charpentier’s Messede minuit pourNoel. Composed in 1690, the editor H. Wiley Hitchcock says “… the mass is without question the most charming, especially since most of its music is based on noels or French Christmas carols” and “The carols … give the Mass its predominant character of tunefulness, simplicity and sweet jubilation.”
Don’t forget to bring your sing-along voice to enjoy four carols with the choir!