Ref. No. 102
||Feb. 20, 2002
||Memorial University's School of Music to produce spectacular choral concert at Mile One
Almost 700 singers, a percussion ensemble, a rock band and a locally-born
opera star are just part of an unforgettable performance of a twentieth
century classic scheduled for March 23, 2002, at the Molson Amphitheatre in
Mile One Stadium in St. John's.
Memorial University's School of Music is co-ordinating a performance of
African Sanctus by British composer David Fanshawe. Under the direction of
Dr. Douglas Dunsmore, a faculty member in Memorial's School of Music and
artistic co-director of Festival 500, more than 700 choristers from
Memorial, Prince of Wales Collegiate, Holy Heart of Mary, Gonzaga High
School, Bishop's College and Mount Pearl Intermediate and Senior High
Schools, as well as the Cantare-Cantelina Youth Choir from Bay Roberts,
will come together for the massive performance.
African Sanctus is being billed as a "colossal musical journey, as eclectic
as life itself, as universal as the range of music from which it draws its
sources." Mr. Fanshawe's composition brings together African tribal musics,
70s rock style, texts of universal spirituality and the power of massed
choral voices. With more than 2000 performances in
the United States alone since its 1972 premiere, African Sanctus is a
testament to music's ability to transcend individual cultures.
"This event builds on the momentum of Festival 500," said Dr. Tom Gordon,
director of Memorial's School of Music. "St. John's has become one of the
great choral capitals of North America and this performance of African
Sanctus will permit the community to renew its enthusiasm for world music."
Supporting partners for the event include the Departments of Education and
Youth Services and Post-Secondary Education. "The Department of Education
is committed to ensuring music programing remains a vital part of our
students' education," said Education Minister Judy Foote. "This performance
will give our students the opportunity to express their musical ability,
and will give teachers exposure to an innovative approach to choral music."
"I am very pleased that we have been able to help sponsor this event," said
Sandra Kelly, Minister of Youth Services and Post-Secondary Education. "It
presents a wonderful opportunity for young people to come together with
their post-secondary counterparts to share their talents, learn from
experienced musicians and present a truly inspiring composition. I am sure
this performance will not only expose these young people to another
culture, it will also help increase their awareness of careers in the field
St. John's native Cheryl Hickman will return from her current engagements
at the New York City Opera to perform as the soprano soloist. The extensive
percussion supporting the work will be provided by members of The
Scruncheons, the ensemble based at Memorial's School of Music which
includes current students and graduates of the school, as well as young
percussionists who are also students in the Avalon East system. Local
free-lance musicians will be engaged to make up the accompanying rock band.
"This work represents an opportunity for collaboration between high schools
and university students resulting in an incredibly exciting spectacle that
could not possibly be presented by any group singly," Dr. Dunsmore said.
"The incredibly clever juxtaposition of Arab and western cultures
challenges the ear and eye with its power and energy in wildly colorful
passages and pounding tribal rhythms. Shortly after its first performance,
African Sanctus won a prize from the United Nations for the promotion of
world peace and harmony. Can anyone doubt that those goals are even more
timely now than when the work was written thirty years ago? We were
convinced that if we could stimulate interest in our high school community
that success would be ensured."
As an added bonus for local audiences, David Fanshawe, himself a
charismatic speaker and musician, will supervise the performance. "The
participation of Mr. Fanshawe will have a catalytic effect on the event,"
Dr. Dunsmore said. "He will supervise the final rehearsals and personally
mix the final performance in which recorded tracks of African singers are
overlaid on live performance."
Tickets go on sale on Friday, Feb. 22 at 9:30 a.m. at the Mile One box
office. There will be no more than 2,000 tickets available and the School
of Music is advising patrons to order tickets within 24 hours of their
going on sale.
For more information, please contact Tom Gordon, Director, School of Music,
Memorial University of Newfoundland, phone 737-7487 or e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ivan Muzychka, manager, Memorial University News
Service, 737-8665, 687-9433, email@example.com.