No retreat this year due to tour, so Phoenix began the season preparing for both the fall concert and the European Broadcasting Union’s Let the Peoples Sing Competition, both held on the same weekend in October. The lovely Lyric Singers, under the direction of Nancy Rahn, shared our fall programme and gave our audience a beautiful taste of a women’s equal voice choir. We joined forces at the end to sing two spirituals together which was great fun.
The very next morning, Sunday October 14th, we were set up and ready to sing at 8:30 in the morning in Studio 1 at the CBC. It was the live-to-air finals for the EBU Choral Competition. A great crowd of supporters got up early to provide both an audience and some moral support, as we were the only choir that was not competing in person. The other choirs we were competing against were all in the same concert hall in Germany! We were disappointed initially with our fourth place finish, until we put it in perspective. Fourth in the world - out of all those entries - was pretty fabulous! We celebrated with a party afterwards, as is the Phoenix tradition.
On November 2nd we participated in a benefit concert at Massey Theatre in New Westminster, to raise funds for the Salvation Army’s Camp Sunrise. We also joined the Vancouver Chamber Choir on November 30th to perform the Bach Christmas Oratorio on the Orpheum stage. The review in the Sun stated, “The choirs were marvels, singing lithely, expressively and with a sureness of balances.”
Another benefit concert was held on December 14th. This time it was to raise funds for the New Westminster Royal City Community Church, where we had rehearsed free of charge throughout the 2006-2007 season. And the Christmas season wrapped up with our traditional Phoenix Christmas, held at Shaughnessy Heights United.
The spring season was a pretty quiet one, with efforts put towards our obligation as the new choir-in-residence at Shaughnessy Heights, and preparing for our spring concert. We were able to provide music for an April 13th church service, and on April 26th, we returned to the church to perform our spring concert. Titled “Jesu Meine Freude, The Bach Project”, once again Ramona demonstrated her genius at programming. Ramona’s vision was to take the eleven-movement motet and interject between each movement a work of a different composer from the Renaissance, the Romantic and contemporary eras. Her goal was to create an entirely new spiritual energy by pairing expressions of similar sentiments of faith within contrasting musical languages. It was a triumph of programming. David Gordon Duke wrote a review in the Sun saying, “Works were chosen with care and extreme intelligence, designed to complement the mood, content, structure and even key relationships of Bach’s 11-segment composition… As the spiral of music continued, style contrasts increased but – and this is surely testimony to Luengen’s taste and intelligence – remained purposeful and apt. The evening was an unfolding, speculative journey through concepts of life, death and redemption, held in place by the matchless symmetry of the Bach original.”
And with that, the season drew to a close. All energies were now focused on the upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary year!
In 2007/2008, Phoenix was…
Brian (Hoot) Gibson
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