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Vernon choir commits songs to Ukraine amid war

Sounds of spring fill AURA Chamber Choir performance

As the Russion invasion of Ukraine drags on, a local choir has committed to including Ukraine in every program.

AURA Chamber Choir is ready to share songs of love and springtime with Songs of Nature at Peace Lutheran Church Saturday, April 15 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 16 at 2 p.m.

The choir will perform a Ukrainian piece in every show until Ukraine prevails.

For Songs of Nature, conductor Terry Pitt-Brooke has prepared an edition of Kyrylo Stetsenko’s SON (A Dream), a partsong that recounts a prisoner’s dream of “a happy summer time” that crumbles in a bitter awakening. Thanks to Vernon Proms impresario Natalia Polchenko for her help with Ukrainian pronunciation.

“Spring: the season of nature’s awakening, and the season of love for all mortal beings,” said Dr. Pitt-Brooke. “AURA Chamber Choir celebrates this ‘amorous and fair season’ with Songs of Nature, a potpourri of European choral music that spans five centuries.”

The concert title is taken from a set of partsongs by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak that celebrates the wondrous beauty and spirituality of the natural world. AURA will perform three selections from this set, and four of his Six Moravian Lyrics, a lighthearted but touching glimpse of village romance. Both sets will be performed in English.

The program’s featured work is by Dvorak’s greatest fan and booster, Johannes Brahms: the Liebeslieder Waltzer (Lovesong Waltzes), op. 52. In this set for mixed chorus and piano four hands, Brahms brilliantly pours the passion of the Gypsy musicians he heard in Viennese cafes into the vessel of the waltz and brews a drink that burns with the intoxication of love in all its forms: blissful and sweet, desolate and bitter, and so much more besides. At the keyboard is AURA’s award-winning pianist Marjorie Close and special guest Terry Logan, noted voice teacher and choir director in her own right.

In addition, AURA will delight in celebrating founding director Imant Raminsh’s 80th birthday with a performance of his chorus, The Peace of Wild Things, under his own direction.

Tickets, $20 and students free, are available at Wentworth Music, choir members and at the door.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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