Saturday evening’s concert by the various choirs of the Whitehorse Community Choir was one of the best on record. Culminating in the performance of Mozart’s Requiem, it was a very ambitious and worthwhile evening.
Starting with the Suzuki Strings, both senior and junior versions, followed by the Neptune male chorus, then the Persephone female chorus, and finally the Whitehorse Chamber Choir, each group in the first half performed better than I have heard them perform before. There was sensitivity, humour, good interpretation, and, in the main, pitch accuracy in the vocal performances.
The strings performed real ensemble playing, making them sound great.
The second half, with the performance of Mozart’s Requiem with added support from both imported soloists and imported instrumentalists was delightful. It was good to hear a semi-professional rendition of this musical work.
The soloists were great. It was encouraging to hear such good vocal singing.
While much could be said about the imported musicians and the class they brought to the performance, just a few comments about a few sections of the small orchestra. The tympani were played with great sensitivity by a Yukon musician; the trombone section was particularly outstanding, with our own Yukon trombonist soloing admirably; the strings were accurate and in ensemble (playing together); the trumpets added the necessary power to certain sections, including again our own Yukon trumpeter; and the overall effect was of a good semi-professional orchestra.
The choir, being a volunteer choir, outdid themselves by singing sensitively when required and with much gusto also when required. In other words, they sang what Mozart expected the choir to sing in his work. Much has to be said about their director, Barbara Chamberlin, who pulled the whole performance together in a very calm and measured way to produce a wonderful whole.
Yes, there were hints of shaky entries and not quite accurate pitch, but these were very few. The whole performance was very pleasurable to listen to and, in the main, musically accurate to the music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Bravo to the Whitehorse Community Choir and orchestra.
To another matter: my greatest frustration comes from trying to listen to a very good performance in a hall that is not very good acoustically.
The Yukon Arts Centre, originally conceived as a concert hall, is not. It is a poor reflection of one, brought on by all the compromises that politics, conflicting usage demands and budgetary restrictions placed on the original designs.
It is acoustically deficient. No amount of electronic “juggling” is ever going to fix that.
Even though we have been grateful for having had and used this facility since the early 1990s and have appreciated all the help and attempts to make it into a workable facility by the arts centre staff, it is time for the musical community to get together to conceive and build a real concert hall, one which brings out the best in the performers by its accurate transmission of musical sound, ie. acoustically designed for live performances without electronic enhancement.
The concern is getting it done in the not-too-distant future. Our development as a musical community depends on it.
One further matter: Whitehorse needs and deserves a community orchestra. It is time for this musical entity to be developed as a regular, permanent part of our musical culture and society, playing the orchestral repertoire in concert, not just ad hoc for the occasion.
The concert on Saturday (and Friday and Sunday) proves its musical worth. It would be great to see this happen very soon.