Calgary Girls Choir a gift of music
High River: Choral group performing range of songs April 22
Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 06:00 am
A High River concert series is ending its season with the sweet sound of young voices this weekend.
The Calgary Girls Choir is performing for the High River Gift of Music Society’s final concert of the season in the High River United Church April 22 at 7:30 p.m. The choir, a four-time winner of the CBC Choral Competition, will be accompanied by a string quartet.
“There are so many choirs, but what’s unique about the Calgary Girls Choir is the standard of excellence,” said choir founder, director and conductor Elaine Quilichini. “They are exceptional and recognized for that. Their vocal tone is so professional. People usually comment, ‘I had no idea that kids could sing like that.’”
The choir consists of more than 45 youths from Grades 7 to first year university students who sing various genres of music including renaissance, baroque, classical, folk, sacred, secular, gospel and pop, said Quilichini. The choir has released eight albums since its inception 21 years ago.
“They have that whole range,” she said. “We make sure we cover everything so the audience gets to hear a variety of things so it doesn’t become a standard sound that they’re just used to hearing. The sound can change quite a bit.”
Sometimes the girls surround the audience so their voices come from all areas of the room, said Quilichini.
“Every voice is unique and their self expression is unique,” she said. “When you sing some of the music with the greatest minds in history you have a world opened up to you where you realize what you think and feel. It’s like reading Shakespeare and by reading those you go, ‘Oh this puts into words what I feel or think’ or it reveals something new to you that you’ve never thought of before.”
This will be the Calgary Girls Choir’s second performance for the High River Gift of Music Society, said Quilicini, adding they performed for the concert series almost a decade ago.
In this weekend’s performance, the choir will sing Stabat Mater by baroque composer Giovanni Pergolesi, which was written in the 1700s. Quilicini said Stabat Mater is Latin for soulful mother.
“It’s a piece with choral and solo work and all of the girls are handling all of the solos and doing such a good job,” she said. “We are really excited.”
The second half of the concert will feature a variety of music from early renaissance songs to light folk music, said Quilicini.
“It will be a nice, varied program,” she said. “It will be an evening of really great music-making by young people – the future of our musical world.”
The Calgary Girls Choir shares its talent locally, as well as around the world, said Quilicini.
“We’ve toured internationally quite substantially, certainly within Alberta and in Canada, but we’ve been all over the world,” she said.
Quilicini gets the girls rehearsing weekly for three hours to perfect their sound.
“They’re dedicated, but it doesn’t take over their lives, though when you hear them you think it might,” she said. “My big focus is on vocal training and musicality. We teach them to read and to sight sing. It’s a place where girls who really want to learn to sing can.”
The skills members learn while with the choir sometimes take them to future musical endeavors.
“I’ve got two girls this year completing their masters degree in opera,” she said. “I’ve got seven studying voice to be professional singers and another made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera last year.”
The hardest part for Quilicini is when the girls move on after their first year of university.
“For me it’s very emotional,” she said. “I have girls singing in the choir who have sung 10 to 12 years with me because we start with four year olds. We have five levels of choirs and this is the highest level.”
During this weekend’s final concert of the season, the series’ 2017/18 line-up will be announced. Those in attendance are invited to head to Evelyn’s Memory Lane Café for an ice cream post-concert.
Tickets to see the Calgary Girls Choir perform cost $30 for adults and $10 for youth and can be purchased at the High River United Church, Evanescence Gallery or at www.highrivergiftofmusic.com