Festival 500 Sharing the Voices
June 1, 2001
This year, Newfoundland will be the global “happening” place for choral music as FESTIVAL 500 Sharing the Voices takes to the stage in a joyous celebration of song. The main performance will take place in the capital city of St. John's July 1-8, while the regional areas of Labrador (May 24-27) and the West Coast (June 27-30) also present visiting and local performers.
This award-winning biennial international festival has gained renown around the world for offering a unique and rich experience in choral music. Choirs will be arriving from the United Kingdom, Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Albania, Australia, South Africa, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Columbia, Brazil, the United States and of course Canada. There will be more than 45 performances involving approximately 1,500 performers. Performances take place throughout St. John's during the festival week. Other performance features include the Notable Lunch concerts and Sunday Church Service concerts which are free. The Mile One Stadium will serve as the venue for the Grande Finale featuring the headline vocal ensemble The Real Group, and then 1,500 voices of all the participating choirs (adult and children massed performances), conducted by Bob Chilcott and Sir David Willcocks, will perform with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.
Innovations are in place for the upcoming FESTIVAL 500. There is a workshop with Valerie Long called So You Always Wanted to Sing, specifically for people who wish to sing, but who may not have been encouraged to do so. Youth Sings Out! is a special two-afternoon workshop for students (Grades 3 to 12) on singing, movement, and improvision with conductor Richard Gill. As with previous festivals, individuals who wish to perform may participate through the Come Solo program. Participants have the opportunity to work with leading choral music specialists such as Diane Loomer, Robert Cooper, Erkki Pohjola, Richard Gill, Stephen Hatfield, Nancy Telfer, Horace Clarence Boyer, and Lydia Adams.
International representation and interest in FESTIVAL 500 has doubled since the last one, which took place in 1999. That FESTIVAL 500 is Newfoundland's own is fitting for a province whose choral groups are garnering success on the international stage. Susan Knight, Doug Dunsmore, Ki Adams, Andrea Rose, and Executive Director Peter Gardner make up the artistic team creating the vision and serving up a roster of well-known visiting artists to lead workshops for participating choirs and to conduct the massed choirs.
FESTIVAL 500 partners with Memorial University of Newfoundland in presenting The Phenomenon of Singing, Symposium III. This symposium is an academic forum for presenters and takes place June 28-30, prior to the festival performance program. Boyer, Pohjola, Libby Larsen, Regula Qureshi, and Warren Jones will lead this forum on the cultural aspects and artistic focus areas of singing. A special theme of Symposium III will be mentorship and its role in the ongoing encouragement and expression of music.
For info, call: (709) 738-6013 or fax: (709) 738-6014.