May. 08, 2007 - Issue #603: Grow-a-Row
Choir sings low, carries Bob back home
‘Something that amazes me about this group is that the best they ever do with their music is always on stage,” begins Liana Bob, director of the Vancouver Orpheus Male Choir. “I think that often with choirs, you have your rehearsals, and then you expect that things won’t go as well at concerts due to nerves and what not.
“They always do their most passionate, most expressive, most concentrated work on stage,” she continues. “It’s such a pleasure to be able to direct a group like that.”
The 45 professional male singers who make up the VOMC are embarking on a trip to Edmonton for the first time since their formation in 1992, and they’ll be bringing along a repertoire that is deep and vast.
“I chose some of the songs,” says Bob, “but this choir’s been around for 16 years, so some of the music has been sung for awhile. We do everything off book, and every season we add five to 10 new pieces. We also draw from our repertoire because there’s some great stuff—everything from pieces from operas to pop songs like Josh Groban’s ‘You Raise me Up’ to ballads—there’s a huge variety. The men like to try to find something that will touch everyone in the audience.
“And these men are great performers,” Bob adds eagerly.
“Though many of them are seniors, they like to keep active and sing a
lot. It’s always a very lively atmosphere. They are not a chorus that
stands on stage. When we do ‘Drunken Sailor,’ the men hiccup and
act drunk in it. It’s a hoot. There’ll be some surprises there at
the concert, you can bet.”
While the choir is making its first trip here, Bob is already familiar with the city, having pursued her interest in directing and leading ensembles at the University of Alberta. During her time in Edmonton, Bob was a fundamental part of the formation and launch of the jazz choir at the University.
“I was really lucky that I was there at a prospering time at the U of A,” she says. “They’d been looking to expand and start a jazz choir. They’d never done it, and so when I was doing my Masters there, I thought that that would be something that was sort of useful.
“The University of Alberta Jazz Choir is still continuing, which is exciting,” she continues, boasting. “It is quite an honour, and I’m looking forward to being back in Edmonton.” V
Sat, May 12 (7:30 pm)
The Vancouver Orpheus Male Choir
With EKOS Singers
Convocation Hall, U of A, $15
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