Article by Tara Stanton for The Wiarton Echo
The Elmer Iseler Singers, a professional choral group centered in Toronto, has created an initiative of ‘hope and optimism’ through a virtual performance of the piece ‘We Rise Again’ by Leon Dubinsky. Artistic Director, Lydia Adams, has invited the Wiarton Concert Choir to participate in this venture, which, along with the Iseler Singers, combines the voices of five Canadian community choirs from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
The Elmer Iseler Singers performed a concert in Wiarton in 2018, where they performed ‘We Rise Again’ alongside the Wiarton Concert Choir [pictured above]. Adams referenced that experience when she included the group in the virtual choral tour. She believes that the piece is “a powerful message for both society and for our choral community as it rises to the challenge of building back stronger to create a bright future of choral singing.” Other choirs involved in the project include the Whitehorse Community Choir, Agincourt Madrigal Singers, Thunder Bay Symphony Chorus, and Cape Breton Chorale.
Wiarton Concert Choir members attended a virtual rehearsal with Ms. Adams and members of the Singers, and then recorded their own parts independently and submitted these for incorporation into the larger production. In the weeks leading up to the release, all conductors are featured in interviews on the EIS website, where they share stories of creating and sharing music over the past year, and their excitement to bring live choral music back to their communities. The final massed choral version of the piece will be released on the Elmer Iseler Singers website and YouTube channel on Sunday, June 20.
In an interview with Lydia Adams, Marla Spencer, the Wiarton Concert Choir’s Conductor and Artistic Director, expressed what the choir members were able to gain from being part of this project. “It’s a renewed sense of hope and optimism for the future – for all of us”
She continued; “Singing is such an important part of who we are and what we do and sharing music is one of the things that transcends all of the things that keep us apart. Singing in a choir brings people together, and the experience of singing with professional singers as well as community singers can renew our spirit through music.”
To see the interviews and watch the June 20th massed choir performance of “We Rise Again” by Leon Dubinsky, tune in to the Elmer Iseler Singers Youtube channel or visit: elmeriselersingers.com for more information.