| Dec 18, 2008

Dec 18/08 - Frontenac Women's Chorus

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Feature Article - December 18, 2008 Earfuls of Choral MusicBy Julie Druker

Betty Wagner conducts the Frontenac Women's Chorus at their "Comfort and Joy" concert at Grace United Church in Sydenham Saturday Dec 6.

This time of year offers earfuls of seasonal choral music to music lovers in Frontenac County. I had the opportunity to attend two choral concerts this past week and was both impressed and uplifted by what I heard.

At Verona’s Trinity United Church on Friday night (December 5) singers and musicians of all ages, shapes and sizes joined together to sing and play their hearts out in the “Spirit of Advent Concert”.

The two choirs of St. Paul’s and Trinity United Churches joined forces along with 4 young singers and local musicians accompanying them on piano, organ, flutes and trumpet. They presented a wide variety of seasonal music, their “thank you” to the community of Verona.

Pieces performed included Handel’s “And the Glory of God”, a gospel song called Great Joy a Comin’, older French folk songs and favorite carols that the audience sang along to.

The sanctuary was filled to capacity and performers and audience mingled and shared refreshments after what moving musical performance.

Choir leader Annabelle Twiddy was delighted with the groups performance.

“They just get cranked, I look at them and they have a smile not just on their mouths but in their eyes. And we’ve worked really hard. It just doesn’t come together overnight.”

On Saturday evening (December 6) in Sydenham, the Frontenac Women’s Chorus under the direction of Betty Wagner performed at Grace United Church. Accompanied by her son, Bob Hall on keyboards the group sang a variety of songs from their program titled “Comfort and Joy at Christmas.”

The secular group sang selections that included classical works by Brahms and Mozart, traditional tunes from Quebec and England and contemporary gospel, jazz and pop tunes.

The group is a very accomplished, tightly knit, group of singers that perform with great expression and depth.

The choir was founded in 1995 by Jennifer Bennett of Verona. According to Wagner, “The mandate of the choir is to bring choral music and a choral opportunity to people north of the 401 but also to provide a social interaction for the women of the area.”

She added, “It’s a tremendous outlet and we’re all really good friends.”

Currently there are 22 members in the chorus. Members sign up for a term and pay $45.00 per term. They meet weekly on Monday nights and rehearse in the music room at Sydenham High School.

The group focuses on locally composed music from the area and many pieces are by Jennifer Bennett. The seasonal program included D’ou viens-tu, bergere? , a traditional Quebecois song arranged by Kingston composer Mark Sirett

Wagner added, “We also try to do music that is appropriate to the condition of women or humanity.”

Wagner has been directing the group for seven years and said her work with the group is “very satisfying“.

It’s always a treat to come away from a concert up lifted. It was the groups rendition of Jane Sibery’s “Are you burning little candle” that did it for me.

The sound of human voices coming together to make beautiful music can be ad uplifting, experience especially at his particular time of year. Tehre were many satisfied listeners in the audience that night

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