Two music conferences will bring seven days of presentations, workshops, choral concerts, popup performances and unique, interactive musical projects to the capital city from June 27-July 3.
Not to mention the best children’s choirs in Canada; the North American debut of Swedish vocal trio Solala; an opening gala concert titled Come and I Will Sing You, featuring 15 choirs from Newfoundland and Labrador in performance with the Ennis Sisters; a multimedia symphony titled Nordic Light by Latvia’s composing sensation Eriks Esenvalds; and the National Youth Choir of Canada.
The International Symposium on Singing and Song II and Podium on the Edge: Singing from Sea to Sea to Sea are hosted by The Singing Network, a Memorial University-based network that owes its creation to music educators Dr. Andrea Rose and Prof. Ki Adams.
With support from Memorial’s Faculty of Education, School of Music, Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Music and the Office of Public Engagement, the group has put together a program of events with the kind of depth and breadth that reflect their years of experience with Festival 500 and other international choral events.
“When the Festival 500 choral festival closed we missed it; we were all really sad,” said Dr. Rose, the festival’s former artistic director. “We met and wondered what trouble we could get into next.
“So in 2014 we formed the Singing Network to jumpstart some projects, and this is one of the outcomes,” continued Dr. Rose, as she sat across from her partners-in-music, Prof. Adams, a retired music educator professor, and Dr. David Buley, a new faculty member in Memorial’s music education program.
This is a network that dreams, and thinks, big.
Two years ago they committed to hosting the second international symposium on singing and song and also raised their hands when Choral Canada, Canada’s national choral association, went looking for a host for its 2018 conference.
Podium on the Edge
Podium on the Edge, running June 29-July 3,is being held for the first time in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It’s going to be wonderful event with over 1,200 performers participants, including 350 delegates, 18 visiting choirs, 11 concerts and 13 cameo performances,” said Dr. Rose.
That doesn’t include the keynote speakers, presenters and scholars associated with both conferences.
“What a feast of choral activity it’s going to be,” said Prof. Adams. “Podium is particularly excited to host the Indonesia Children and Youth Choir, as well as three choirs conducted by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians now living away. “
There’s also a unique musical project, titled float, taking place at the Mount Scio Savoury Farm on Canada Day.
International Symposium on Singing and Song II
The International Symposium on Singing and Song II, running June 27-29, features keynote speakers Stephen Clift (U.K.), research director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health; Aida Swenson (Indonesia), founder/conductor of the Indonesian Children and Youth Choirs; and Wendy Nielsen (Canada), soprano and voice pedagogue.
With 60 presentations, the focus is on sharing international perspectives, research and practices associated with singing and song. A lunchtime dialogue series, Close Encounters of the Musical Kind, will be open to the public and feature presenters and local community musicians. The series is sponsored by the Office of Public Engagement.
“There’s so much diversity,” said Dr. Rose. “There’s something for everyone, no matter if your interests lie in performance, folklore, health care or community music-making.”
Symposium sessions will take place in the School of Music, while Podium on the EDGE events will take place primarily at the Sheraton Hotel and various performance venues throughout St. John’s.
“We want people to go away with the joy of singing, and the idea of singing together,” said. Prof. Adams. “After all, that is our way of life here in Newfoundland and Labrador.