Thank you for an amazing season!
As Ontario advances to Stage 3, we are grateful for our long-awaited return to something like normalcy, where we enjoy face-to-face encounters with friends and loved ones, dine indoors and relish other delights we once took for granted. But most of all, we at Orpheus are grateful for your support! Your support has sustained us on our shared musical journey. Now, as we conclude this season, we are delighted to share with you a few highlights:
In before times, we started each season with the Sidgwick Salon to raise funds for our esteemed Sidgwick Scholars Program. We were determined that this season be no different, although we did have to make some accommodation for contingencies. For instance, our scholarship students couldn’t perform for you in person. And we had to learn how to live-stream an event, something we had never done before. The salon was a great success and you were behind us every step of the way.
Later in the fall, when it became clear that we wouldn’t be able to hold in-person concerts, we launched the first of our virtual performances, “Hands” by Jocelyn Hagen. Our apprentice conductor, Kai Leung, spearheaded the project and edited both the audio and video contributions from our choristers. Kai’s gifts have proved invaluable throughout the season.
Well into the 2nd wave, we launched a digital variation on our annual festive theme with Time For Cheer. Sidgwick Scholar alumnus, Patricia O’Callaghan, graciously agreed to serve as host for the event. We supplemented the virtual concert with archival material, and supporting voices from a small group of socially distanced, masked choristers.
As the new year began, we suffered the tragic loss of our Treasurer and Board Member, Pierre Zurawicki, who succumbed to complications from COVID-19. Pierre’s leadership and knowledge shaped the Orpheus Board over the course of his many years with us. To mark this tragic loss, we paid tribute to Pierre and to all those whose lives have been irrevocably altered by COVID-19 the way we know best, through our music. We shared a virtual performance of “We Shall Walk in Peace,” arranged by Moses Hogan. It features the solo voice of Sidgwick Scholar, Danlie Rae Acebuque.
On March 13th, to mark a year of living with COVID-19, we premiered “Lost in Translation,” an innovative project created by our talented apprentice conductor/composer Kai Leung and composer Madox Terrell. Their work radically confronts the role of technology in both enhancing and corrupting communication, a matter of pressing concern to all of us as we sought new ways to connect with one another.
We rounded out the season by sharing an Orpheus favourite, “O Salutaris Hostia,” by Latvian composer, Ēriks Ešenvalds. Gentle, comforting, healing, the very balm we need in these difficult times.
Looking forward, we invite you to continue with us on this journey, exploring the transformative power of choral music to shape our lives. Join our community on Facebook & Instagram where we will be releasing behind the scenes content from our upcoming project, “Shining Stars.”
We are grateful for your support of our music during this time and look forward to reconnecting with you as we embark upon the 2021-22 season.
The Orpheus Choir of Toronto