“If you had any illusions about us being a high-brow choir, that should have dispelled them,” smiled Doug Routledge of Melodia Monday, to a laughing, clapping crowd at the finish of the Arrogant Worms’ “Cow Song”. (You can look up the lyrics if you don’t remember them.)
Rutledge is conductor of this 24-member choir which draws singers from a wide area between Napanee and Brockville. All are passionate about music and love to sing together; their repertoire is broad, running from sacred to profane, classical to folk. The name comes from their always practising on Monday evenings.
Last Friday Grace Hall had a full house to hear Melodia Monday perform a concert of all-Canadian songs. They opened withBreathe on Us, a piece the group had commissioned Mark Sirett to compose for them, using the words of a poem by Archibald Lampman. They also sang Sirett’s arrangement ofUn Canadian Errant.
Farewell Nancy, adapted from a traditional Newfoundland lament and set to music by Stephen Chatman, is full of exquisite, haunting harmonies, as is Frobisher Bay, which was sung by the men of the choir, and tells of a whaling crew whose ship has been caught by freeze-up and is doomed to spend a winter in the ice of Frobisher Bay. Overall, the evening had a distinctively Eastern Canadian flavour, with Song for the Mira, Wood River and Log Driver’s Waltz.
The choir praised Grace Hall’s acoustics, and enjoyed using the new stage risers, recently designed and constructed by Frank York of Verona. The audience showed their appreciation of the evening with a standing ovation.