A musical feast for fall: Top choral picks of the season

Julie Maclellan

Well, it's official. The leaves are changing colour, the nights are dark and chilly, and the rains are coming back.

That can only mean fall has arrived.

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Which means one thing for us choir geeks: choral season is back!

Yes, my fellow choral-loving friends, the new season is upon us, and several of my favourite choirs have some fabulous concerts coming up soon.

Here are some ideas if you're looking to while away a few of those cool fall evenings:

* Vancouver Chamber Choir:

The choir has a packed - and amazing - season lined up, and the next concert is soon. As in, tonight!

That's right, on Friday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m., the choir presents High Renaissance: The Golden Age of Choral Music, at Ryerson United Church in Vancouver. Audience members can expect to hear works from such composers as William Byrd, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Thomas Tallis and Antonio Lotti.

The church is at 2205 West 45th Ave..

If you miss tonight's concert, never fear, there's another coming up soon.

On Friday, Nov. 14, the choir is offering up Homeward: New Lyricism, featuring recent lyrical works by composers from B.C. and the Yukon, including Daniel Janke, Don Macdonald and David K. MacIntyre.

That one's also at 8 p.m. at Ryerson United Church.

* Laudate Singers:

The North Shore choir has another great season lined up - including a gala 20th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Oct. 25.

The tango-inspired fundraiser, Fires of Passion, features dinner, silent auction and a concert featuring the choir and Tangissimo: Linda Lee Thomas on piano, Ed Henderson on guitar and Miles Foxx Hill on bass.

It's all happening at the Seymour Golf and Country Club, 3723 Mount Seymour Parkway in North Van, and doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Don't delay getting tickets - you need to reserve your $95 spot by Oct. 20.

* Vancouver Cantata Singers:

The choir opens its season on Saturday, Oct. 25 with an 8 p.m. concert at Christ Church Cathedral on Burrard Street.

The central work of the program is Frank Martin's Mass for Unaccompanied Double Choir, along with other sacred works by Bach, Stravinsky, Bloch, Poulenc and Orban.

The choir is also holding its sixth annual Spinal Chord gala - a benefit in partnership with the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre - on Saturday, Nov. 1.

* Phoenix Chamber Choir:

Phoenix opens its 3snd season with LIFT, a concert of music on themes of promise, hope and renewal - including works by Arvo Part, Herbert Howells, Jonathan Dove, Thomas Tallis and Gerald Finzi.

The concert is on twice: Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Rosary Cathedral in downtown Vancouver, and Sunday, Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. at West Vancouver United Church.

* Chor Leoni:

The men's choir offers up its Remembrance Day concert, A Great Service, featuring pianist Ken Cormier, guest organist Ellen Ay-Laung Wang and reader Christopher Gaze. The program includes works by Gustav Holst, Vaghan Williams, Paul Mealor and Rupert Lang.

It runs three times: Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Queens Avenue United Church in New Westminster; Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. at West Vancouver United Church; and Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church in Vancouver.

So there you have it - get back out there and start enjoying the abundance of choral riches our region has to offer.

Hurray for fall!

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