Concert brings international flavour to Christmas

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 09:58 am

Juno award-winning Ensemble Caprice will perform a Christmas concert at the High River United Church on Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.
Juno award-winning Ensemble Caprice will perform a Christmas concert at the High River United Church on Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.
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A High River concert series is in the spirit of giving this holiday season.

The High River Gift of Music Society is bringing Montreal’s Juno award-winning Ensemble Caprice to the stage for an around-the-world Christmas experience on Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.

The society’s artistic and executive director Michèle Wheatley-Brown said the positive reception from Ensemble Caprice’s highly-acclaimed Baroque Christmas Around the World concert last year prompted her to bring the group to High River to raise spirits among residents in the society’s first Christmas concert.

“These guys are the rock stars of the early music world,” she said. “They are considered the leaders of that genre of music.”

Wheatley-Brown said what many people enjoy about their performance is Ensemble Caprice invites its audience to sing along.

“They are wonderful at engaging the audience,” she said. “We are always looking for musicians that can really relate to the audience and share their passion and get everybody on board.”

Wheatley-Brown said she felt it more important this year than ever to bring a Christmas concert to High River, particularly following the devastation so many residents experienced after thousands of homes and businesses were damaged when the Highwood River flooded in June.

“More than any year this is the time to get together just because our community has gone through so much,” she said. “We thought music and Christmas go together and it’s a great way to celebrate the coming season and just a really opportune time to get the community together.”

Under the artistic direction of Montreal musicians Matthias Maute and Sophie Larivière, Ensemble Caprice is renowned for its innovative interpretations of baroque music.

This style of western art music dates back to the 1600s, composed by such world-renowned musicians as Johann Sebastian Bach.

Maute formed the group while living in Germany in 1989 and upon moving to Montreal created a Canadian ensemble. Both the Canadian and German ensembles travel the world performing and adding to their musical influences.

“We develop different kinds of wwprograms and add other elements to it,” he said. “We play music that’s not just for baroque instruments. What’s interesting is the sound is different. It’s never been done before.”

Baroque Christmas Around the World brings a variety of cultures together in a Christmas celebration under one roof, said Maute.

“It’s interesting to delve into the different cultures and see that the same event can be celebrated in quite different ways,” he said.

“It adds a nice colour and some warmth to cold Canadian winters.”

Instruments played in the ensemble include the baroque guitar, baroque cello and flutes. Montreal soprano Dawn Bailey will join the ensemble for the concert.

“We are really looking forward to our performance,” Maute said, adding High River is just one stop in their western Canadian tour.

“It’s our first time (in High River) so we’re all geared up.”

What makes the performance even more special is it’s the High River Gift of Music Society’s first concert in the High River United Church since the building was damaged in June’s flood.

Wheatley-Brown said the concert pianos lost in the flood have been replaced, the cost covered by insurance, to maintain the high level of musical performances High River Gift of Music Society is known to offer.

Tickets to see Ensemble Caprice can be purchased at www.highrivergiftofmusic.com or Colossi’s Coffee House in High River. Tickets cost $20 for seniors and $25 for adults in advance, or $25 for seniors and $30 for adults at the door if tickets are still available. Youth tickets cost $5.


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