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Sopranos to Die For

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THUNDER BAY, ON  ---  January 31, 2013  ---   Thursday night's performance of the Elmer Isler Singers at the Thunder Bay Elmer Isler Singers Community Auditorium with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra was simply astounding. 'Sopranos to Die For" were my first thoughts after hearing them sing, but the rest of the choir sing equally well. Your recent performance will be long remembered by our music students at Lakehead University. The music students cherished the chance to work with the best while preparing Mozart's Requiem.

Listening to a choir of this quality it gives us further reason to lament the loss of funding for choral music programs in our education system. Where will the singers of tomorrow come from?

One can count the number of professional choirs in Canada on the fingers of one hand. Of these choral organizations none have the presence on stage that Lydia Adams and the Isler Singers have. The presence is made possible by the long history of this choir beginning with its distinguished founder Elmer Isler. I have vinyl recordings of this choir directed by its founder and the trademark sound of this choir was quickly established early in its history.

This choir has steadfastly explored new modern models of choral excellence. Supporting modern composers by inspiring commissions and performing works by leading composers of our time. Over time this choir has come to represent the choral face of Canadians worldwide. Thursday night this choir performed a version of “Abide With Me”, a tune that anyone who has attended a funeral will know. This simple tune has the comfort of familiarity, but the arrangement is fully a modern work of art written to challenge and showcase the 14 singers of the Isler Singers. As long as the choir performs music like this they will continue to win the love and admiration of choral music enthusiasts.

Kudos for this concert also go to the TBSO and to Lakehead University for bringing this choir to the city to work with the LU Vocal Ensemble and the TBSO Chorus. Years ago it was my pleasure to have had the chance to sing the same Mozart Requiem with the Isler Singers under the direction of Elmer Isler! It was one of my personal highlight from my music studies at the University. It is nice to see that nothing has been lost with this choir under Lydia Adams direction.

The presence of the choir in the City this week has inspired and encouraged the singers that we do have in Thunder Bay. Their presence has opened the eyes of young music students to the possibility of professional choral music. To those who listened to the performance Thursday night we were inspired by this choirs pursuit of excellence.

The Elmer Isler Singers provided a treat to be savoured until they come again.

Bert Rowson; Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com


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