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Artistic Profile: The Capital Chamber Choir

The Capital Chamber Choir is a choral group in demand. Although founded only in 2009, by Sara Brooks, in recent seasons they have been invited to performed in collaboration with other groups. The most notable of these include with the NAC Orchestra in their Roaring 20s festival last year; in choral concerts for Music & Beyond; and working closely with world-renown composers such as Morten Lauridsen and Ola Gjeilo.

We caught up with the busy choir manager, Amy Desrosiers, recently and asked her what is the secret of their success.

“We are very dedicated to our singing.” And while of course that could describe many of our local choirs, there are other reasons. “We are not only experienced singers but also very good friends and supportive of each other.” There is also a lot of youthful energy. While people often mistake them for a youth choir – their average age is 28, and many young members have children of their own – “we often have to remind people we aren’t; we have a full age range from 19 to 65 years old.We always welcome singers of all ages to join us, whether just starting University or well into their retirement days!”

Then there is the repertoire. Artistic Director Jamie Loback consults the choir members on pieces they are interested in singing, and chooses everything with a lot of care. They perform pieces by many contemporary Canadian composers, as well as composers from around the world. There is a lot of versatility: from singing Night and Day in the Roaring 20s to composers from across time and continents – from Thomas Tallis to John Tavener to Morten Lauridsen. “It’s complex, challenging rep, but it gives the choir an immense sense of pride.”

And some of that repertoire is very locally sourced, Amy told me. “We have several talented composers in the choir and we always love performing their new works to promote the raw talent existing in the Ottawa choral community. You could say we’re a one-stop shop for performing local works!”

The Capital Chamber Choir is also active in developing itself and its audience. “We work to really identify the choir and identify the audience we want to attract as demand for us increases. We are also expanding our social media platforms and maintaining a communal connection with other choirs in Canada and around the world via social media. It’s important to know the choral community out there and really opens doors for overall support in any aspect of artistic and administrative direction.”

This season includes many exciting projects, not least of which is their current preoccupation: the choir’s first recording venture. Made possible by a grant from the Ontario Council for the Arts, the CD will be released later in the season and will comprise repertoire by all Canadian composers, many of them local. There are even pieces by Timothy Mott and Nicholas Piper, who are members of the choir itself.

Then they will be tackling the moving, humanistic Brahms’ German Requiemwhich they will be performing with ORYC in concert on 11th November. There will be further concerts, including the Mozart Requiem, a winter themed (not Xmas!) concert on December 17th and a spring concert on March 11th; and a collaboration in June with several other groups of the 150th anniversary of Canada, Sing Ottawa en choeur. Look out for announcements on ClassicalOttawa.com for more details.

The diversity of repertoire is one of the keys to the continued popularity of choral music in general, according to Amy. “Although we perform a lot of mainstream music, audiences seem keen to open up to more contemporary repertoire. Even my non-musical friends are fascinated by the complexity of choral music and more experimental works.”

From the Mozart and Brahms’ Requiems to local and contemporary pieces of great complexity, Ottawa certainly has a season of great wealth coming up from the Capital Chamber Choir.

You can learn more about the Capital Chamber Choir by visiting their website:http://www.capitalchamberchoir.ca/

Please join them on Facebook and share with your friends:https://www.facebook.com/capitalchamberchoir

And, of course, you can follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CCChoir

You can read a review of the Nicholas Piper pieces which CCC is in the process of recording here: http://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/local-reviews/ottawa-composers-premiere-a-breathtaking-delight

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