THUNDER BAY, ON ---- December 27, 2011 --- This is the season for community music groups to present their Christmas Concerts. There are so many groups in the city that I would have liked to hear but for one reason or another I was called to be elsewhere. One group that I have been following since its inception is dulcisono. Their recent concert “Sing Me to Heaven” was performed Sunday December 4th at St. Paul’s United Church.
Even their name spelt without a capital is unique. This is a Canadian Choir and they perform for a Canadian audience here in Thunder Bay. They often include recent works by Canadian composers in their concerts, and of course they perform some well known pieces of the season such as Gustav Holst “Lullay my Liking”.
I have been following this choir these many seasons simply because they are the closest thing this city has to a professional choir. There is only so much that can be done with volunteer singers and one practice weekly, and in this category of choir, dulcisono shines. For a cultural organization to grow and prosper it needs to have a large number of things in good working order. This choir has honest, capable direction. The goals of the choir are clearly communicated and the women of the choir have made these goals their own. The privilege of singing in this choir means that they can share the satisfaction of performing demanding but musical compositions. Choir members also share a vision created through music supports women’s issues and community issues important to them. So as well as singing for satisfaction, they also perform for a purpose.
Susan Marrier is the inspired Artistic Director of dulcisono but another major talent is the contribution made by their accompanist Carol MacDonald. She does a lot more than play the piano. In many respects she is the leader of the band, which is the group of percussionists, flute and guitar players that seem to make their way into every concert. The addition of these extra musicians gives variety to the programme. Carol’s sharp ear and talent led her to improvise a little in some verses to preserve the sense of pitch. If you are performing on stage she is very much the solid musician you want backing you up.
The choir is singing better this season. The reason is the tonal quality of this choir has improved a great deal with the balance benefitting from the addition of a few more younger trained voices.
The choir performed a piece by Gwyneth Walker “Good Shepherd”. The composition was full of intervals that would be difficult to tune at the best of times. From my vantage point the choral progressions sounded good.
This is a great organisation and a good place to be for women who enjoy singing artistic music. There are other women’s choirs who are great at presenting entertaining music and for many that is more important. This choir will push their members to the very limits of their art as they explore new and varied literature for women’s voices. This is not a closed group choir and they are open to new members and new talent. I believe that it is this open honesty that contributes to dulcisono’s success.