Via Choralis, based on the Peninsula, will debut a new work composed by its artistic director. (Handout)

Local choir to sing new music for wintertime

Composer Nicholas Fairbank, who graduated high school in 1974, believes he was one of the last B.C. students to take a Grade 12 provincial exam in Latin. He has also sung in church choirs all his life, so he said he had a good sense of the rhythm of the language.

Fairbank, who is also artistic director of Via Choralis and the director of music at First Unitarian Church, has put this skill to use recently when composing the music for a new secular “vespers,” based on the ancient monastic rite sung each evening in monasteries and convents. The piece, called “Vesperae pro Serveto,” will debut on Sun. Nov. 26 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Sidney, with a second performance on Sun., Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church. It will be performed by Via Choralis and the Chalice Choir of the First Unitarian Church of Victoria, which have a combined number of about 75. They will be accompanied by an eight-piece musical ensemble.

The text is all new, and written by Rev. Frances Dearman, a Unitarian minister. Dearman’s text is based on the titles and themes of ancient texts, but is almost all original and inclusive of many faiths, which is part of the Unitarian belief. It is named for Michael Servetus, a Spanish theologian who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1553 and whose writings were formative for the Unitarian-Universalist church. Fairbank said his seven-movement work, which runs about 30 minutes, is “a calm, quiet affair,” which is meant to evoke a contemplative mood.

“Most of them are describing nature and what people would normally do in the evening — take the dog up for a walk in the hills, look at the sky, feed the children, put them to bed, but then there are scenes of nature as well and descriptions of the stars,” said Fairbank.

Fairbank acknowledged that Victoria is chock full of choral concerts this time of year, with Handel’s Messiah as one traditional example, but he’s hoping that people will attend this one “because it’s new and different.”

“The text is really central to the whole work, which is really what inspires the music,” said Fairbank.

Fairbank said that all the melodies and harmonies are also original, save for one theme in the first movement where he incorporated a melody from the Greek Orthodox liturgy, Phos Hilaron, which is translated as O Gladsome Light.

“People who think about other traditions this time of year, might think of the Winter Solstice. There is certainly some connection in the text to that, the shortest day of the year, the darkness and the cold. All of which I suppose have been incorporated into our Christmas traditions, sacred and secular all mixed together.”

Tickets are $18 at the door and $15 in advance. $5 student tickets are available at the door. Children under 12 are free. Advance tickets are available at Tanner’s Books, from choir members, and online at brownpapertickets.com/event/3098094



reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

Majority of Greater Victoria youth likely to be steady marijuana users: UVic study

UVic psychology researcher studied cannabis use among youth in Greater Victoria for more than a decade

Parks Canada says cannabis use is allowed on campgrounds

Smoking and camping will be allowed at national parks across the country

Physician assistants say they can help B.C. health care woes

Reducing wait times, improving doctor efficiency is the goal

VIDEO: Victoria writer and filmmaker turns her mental illness into mental strength

Mental illness robs Victoria woman of happiness from age 10

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Scope of Hurricane Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle

Nearly 137,000 Florida customers remain without power from the Gulf of Mexico to the Georgia border

Streamlined pardon process for pot possession convictions in Canada

Feds say legalization is first step towards objectives of getting pot out of the hands of kids and eliminating black market

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Most Read