Tomorrow at noon (Friday), Canada's largest academic conference will prepare to wrap up with a celebratory concert at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at the Centre for the Arts, Brock University. Congress 2014 as been going on for the past week up at Brock, with about 8,000 people registered to attend, take part in and discuss all things academic at Brock University.
The concert will feature the group Momentum, a performance choir comprised of more than 50 adults with an intellectual disability, performing from noon to 1 pm. The performance is free and open to the public.
The choir started seven years ago with the help of Bethesda Community Service and a provincial grant, and they are an amazing group to see and hear. According to Mendelt Hoekstra, the choir's founder and current artistic director, the choir is "highly disciplined (and) professionally facilitated." They provide what's described as an authentic musical experience in which the gifts of unique artists can be professionally nurtured, thereby allowing the choir members to belong, believe and inspire.
Momentum rehearses every week from September to May, performing twelve shows a year out of close to 50 requests. According to Hoekstra, "Once the music starts, disabilities take a back seat...it's professional, entertaining and inspiring musicians."
Even if you have not been attending Congress this past week, if your lunchtime is free tomorrow you should really make an effort to hear this choir; they really are amazing to hear!
On Saturday, the Burlington Male Welsh Chorus will perform in concert at the newly renovated Church of the Transfiguration at 320 Glenridge Avenue in St. Catharines. The concert is from 7:30 to 9:30 Saturday evening, and tickets are available through the church office or at the door on the night of the concert.
From Carnegie Hall to Royal Albert Hall, the singers in the choir have sung their repertoire of Welsh folk songs, hymns and other musical numbers in venues the world over. They continue the long tradition of music making in Wales, where almost everybody can hold a note and sing a song, at least that's what we're told!
The Church of the Transfiguration, by the way, was a venue I became familiar with back in the late 80s when I was asked to emcee a concert given by a Welsh-born singer whose name escapes me at the moment. But I do remember it was about this time of the year and the late NDP legend in Niagara, Mel Swart, was in the audience that evening. We talked afterwards and I realized he was a regular listener to my musical show in the evenings on CKTB Radio at the time, on his way back from Queen's Park many evenings.
I recall asking the singer performing that evening about the famous train station in Wales with the longest name I had ever heard, and without missing a beat he rattled it off for the audience that night: Lianfairpwllgwyngyll. Imagine seeing that name come up when you ask for directions while touring Wales!
Anyway, the Burlington Male Welsh Chorus will be performing Saturday night at the very same venue where I learned a little of the Welsh language many years ago, and it promises to be a very musical evening. If you go, why not ask them to rattle the station name off too?
Enjoy the weekend!
May 29th, 2014.