Saturday, March 8, 2014

Celebrating International Women's Day and Industrial Fabric

This weekend, as is the case every March, we mark International Women's Day with concerts and good intentions, although I prefer to celebrate women and their considerable achievements year round, really.

But this weekend there is an interesting concert coming up this evening, in fact, at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Ontario Street in downtown St. Catharines, and it is billed as a "Niagara Concert for International Women's Day."  It's another of the always-interesting artistic endeavours of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts at Brock University.

The Brock University Women's Chorus hosts guest ensembles:  the McMaster University Women's Chorus and the Queenston Ladies Choir, in a concert showcasing the beauty and power of women's voices.

Conductors Lisa Brillon (Queenston), Harris Loewen (Brock) and Rachel Rensink-Hoff (McMaster) will each conduct their individual choirs, and then the choirs will join forces in a massed chorus of over 100 voices in a performance by three elite, treble-voice women's ensembles.

For the most part, the concert will be contemporary in flavour, with the majority of works performed either written in the 20th or 21st centuries, with a number of them published in just the last few years.  Also represented on the programme will be works by 19th-century composers Bruckner and Mendelssohn, along with traditional folk songs and spirituals in new arrangements.  I'm interested, though, Fanny Mendelssohn would not be represented on the programme along with Felix, but maybe that's just me.

One of the concert highlights will be the Canadian premiere of "She Rises", a piece for double women's chorus with music and lyrics by Catherine Dalton, dating from 2011.  Other contemporary composers represented include Eric Whitacre and Canadian songwriter Leon Dubinsky, arranged for women's chorus by Toronto's Lydia Adams.

The concert begins at 7:30 tonight, and tickets should still be available at the door.  It should be a great concert, and a fitting way to celebrate International Women's Day.

This concert, in fact, is part of the 4th annual festival of the arts known as Industrial Fabric, which runs throughout the months of March and April with several performances and exhibits both at Brock University and throughout the larger community.  I talked this week with Derek Knight, Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts at Brock, and he was very enthusiastic about the breadth and variety of events planned this month and next.

Along with tonight's concert at St. Thomas Church, there are theatrical design exhibits, the One Acts Festival of short plays featuring student actors from Brock's Department of Dramatic Arts, and something called The Rosina Project.  This is described as an interdepartmental collaboration with MUSIC student Leanne Vida, under the direction of Professor Virginia Reh, exploring the character of Rosina in the Figaro operas of Rossini, Mozart, Milhaud and Corigliano.

For a detailed list of all events as well as locations and times, go to  You'll find literally something for everyone over the next two months, all designed to further the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts mandate of building connections between the community and Brock University.

Enjoy the weekend!

March 8th, 2014.

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