THUNDER BAY, ON ---- December 10, 2010 ---- Dulcisono women’s choir has all the hallmarks of a well run organization, held together by one of the strongest bonds there is, the joy of singing.
A well run organization has things going for it. It means work that needs to get done for publicity, concert preparation, financial management are all are all accomplished. It comes as no surprise then that a choir that works so well together can also sing well. All of these things were apparent at last Sunday’s concert “A Celebration of Christmas”.
Director Susan Marrier is a gifted conductor with a lot of experience. She is able to take women of mixed ages and blend their voices so that they sound like a professional chamber choir. In Thunder Bay, dulcisono is perhaps one of the best choirs a woman could choose to join if she wants to develop their singing skills. Many singers in this choir have had voice lessons at one time or another and they know that singing is a skill that you soon lose if you do not sing good company. In this sense the choir is made up of peers, those who have learned how to use their voice through conservatory or university studies, along with those who have acquired these skills through years of singing in good choirs.
New members join the choir through an audition process. Susan Marrier is not looking for advanced music skills but she is looking for singers with a good ear. This is necessary not only for singing in pitch but also to create that special sound that dulcisono has. Good singers are aware not only of the sound that they are producing, but they compare that with what others are singing around them. Another quality she is looking for in prospective singers is the ability to learn the music. It is not really too much to ask, and given a few short years of regular Tuesday night rehearsals any woman can become quite accomplished as a chorister.
One of the features of Sunday’s concert was a cameo appearance by Irina Medvedeva. Her solo accompanied by Marcella Smithers was one of the delights of the programme. Irina was this year’s recipient of the Lakehead Festival of Music and the Arts dulcisono scholarship for young woman singers. Irina is a Lakehead University student majoring in business and marketing. She also studies voice privately with Mary McGhee and piano as an elective course at L.U.
As mentioned Susan Marrier has to deal with the problem of blending young and mature voices. On some pieces this blend could break down when the outer voiced reached the limits of their range especially when singing loudly. This might have happened for no more than a few seconds a couple of times during the programme. The concert programme was a true celebration of Christmas and I really enjoyed the selection and variety of music that they presented.
Over the years I have grown an appreciation for the music of Canadian composer Eleanor Daley. Dulcisono sings her music a lot, and my favourite selection of the concert is one of her compositions. “When Christ Was Born of Mary Free” as sung by this choir was a celebration of excellence. While some compositions can wear thin after a few months of rehearsals, that was not the case for this piece, and the choir never seems to tire singing it.
Members of this choir are justly proud of their concert for they have earned the rewards that the struggle for excellence brings. Dulcisono’s next concert will be for Harp and Voice. The dulcisono spring concert will be at St. Paul’s United Church May 1st at 7:30 pm and will feature Toronto harpist Andrew Chan. If you love good choral music you will not want to miss this concert.
For women looking for a good choir to sing in check out their website at www.dulcisono.org or contact their Director Susan Marrier