AURA CHAMBER CHOIR DESERVES TO BE CONGRATULATED
by Christine Pilgrim
Congratulations to AURA Chamber Choir for enhancing the Okanagan with uplifting music for the past 35 years!
Congratulations, too, to its co-founder, musical director and conductor, Imant Raminsh, who celebrated his 70th birthday during the choir’s 35thanniversary year!
Congratulations are also due to Marjorie Close. 2014 marks the 25th year that she has been AURA’s full-time accompanist.
There could be no more appropriate way for AURA to celebrate these three auspicious occasions than to present Mozart’s Grand Mass (KV 427) in C Minor. And that’s what they did on Saturday April 12th – just a day shy of the very first concert they offered 35 years ago.
It was an enthralling event that brought well deserved cheers and a standing ovation from the packed house at Trinity United Church in Vernon. Raminsh was in top form on the podium and the combined sound of nearly 80 spectacular voices (augmented by 33 singers from Vivace Chorale), a 25 piece orchestra and four highly accomplished soloists could well have filled London’s Royal Albert Hall rather than Trinity United Church. And though Trinity United’s organ might not compete with that at the Royal Albert, Marjorie Close’s playing could convince otherwise.
The choir shone throughout, while soprano Stephanie Nakagawa gave an elegant interpretation of Et incarnatus est; mezzo Mia Harris offered a passionate but beautifully controlled rendition of Laudamus te; tenor Tomas Bijok moved the audience with Et in Spiritum Sanctum; and baritone Alan Corbishley sang outstandingly, particularly during Benedictus and Dona nobis pacem, despite a throat infection.
There was cake for performers and audience afterwards but the real celebration was the music itself. The Okanagan is fortunate to have such talent and prowess in its midst. And those present on April 12th were blessed to have shared it.