And, we decided to celebrate in style. We put together a packed and exciting season – guest artists, premieres of commissioned works, and our first concert ever in the beautiful new Chan Centre for the Performing Arts! It was a big year, and a fitting celebration for Phoenix.
Our retreat at Whistler that year was extended to two nights, and if you can believe it, a masseuse was hired to give chair massages during rehearsal! (Why didn't that become a tradition and how can we get it started up again?) And, we certainly needed the extra rehearsal time at retreat, because our first performance of the season came early. We participated in The BC Choral Federation’s 50th anniversary celebration at Christ Church Cathedral on September 27th – all of the CBC Choral Competition winners were invited to perform.
Our own 15th Anniversary celebration concert followed in October, where we premiered newly commissioned works by Derek Holman and Ramona Luengen, as well as a North American premiere of a Ligeti piece. We had some very important people in the audience – Derek Holman flew out from Toronto to be at the premiere of his composition, and Cortland Hultberg, our founding conductor, came to join in on the celebration as well!
Then we took the show on the road and performed in Victoria the following weekend. The after party was crazy Phoenix style, as per usual, and featured a "come dressed as a lyric or title from the Phoenix repertoire" theme. Without a doubt, Evan Bueckert won hands down. He arrived dressed as “Violent Esperanza” – from a lyric in Le Pont Mirabeau. Of course. The following morning, we piled into one hotel room to listen to the CBC national broadcast of our 15th anniversary concert from the weekend before.
Christmas was again busy, with the KISS-FM fundraiser at the Pan Pacific, carolling in Kerrisdale, a joint concert with Die Meistersinger Children's Choir and the Pacific Horns, our own traditional Phoenix Christmas concert, as well as singing live on the CBC Early Edition Christmas Eve show. Whew!
After our success in the previous CBC competition, Phoenix was chosen again to represent Canada in the EBU "Let the Peoples Sing" International Choral Competition, so we spent the first part of January completing that recording. The last part of January was used to rehearse and record a soundtrack for a History Channel Documentary.
Then, we had a big challenge ahead – Phoenix had never before attempted to fill a performance hall quite as big as the Chan Centre! Our choir members jumped into action and teams set out to blanket the city with posters advertising the concert, featuring Carol Welsman. Miles chauffeured one team powered by his favourite gas from Chevron (of course)! In April we were invited to provide the music for Mass at the Holy Rosary Cathedral, and we put on a mini concert afterwards.
And then it was time to meet Carol Welsman and prepare for our Chan debut. What a fabulous voice, consummate musician and lovely person! We were thrilled to share the stage with her. And what a stage it was – the Chan Centre was an absolutely stunning location. And, once again that season we were proud to premiere commissioned pieces by Gene Puerling and Phil Mattson, to a cheering crowd. The evening ended with a fabulous reception at the home of Corlynn and Miles Ramsay.
Shortly after, the Ramsay home was also the location of a baby shower held for Leanne Dalton, expecting her first child. Our final task of the year was a series of recording sessions in June for our new Christmas CD, titled "The Huron Carol". Leanne, who was pretty much at her due date at that point, just made it to the end of the sessions – her baby boy (Oliver) was born 10 days after the last track was recorded! Truly a great way to wrap up a stellar anniversary year!
In 1998/1999 Phoenix was…
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