Festival de la Voix celebrates 9 seasons of outstanding musical artists

Imanis Gospel Singers. Photo courtesy of Festival de la Voix

Sat. March 19-Sun. April 10, various dates, times and venues 

Dorval, Beaconsfield, Pointe-Claire, Hudson, Westmount

The beauty of the human voice

Live concerts and workshops are back as Vox Aeterna celebrates the ninth annual Festival de la Voix. The festival promotes live music, Canadian composers and musicians, and professional and emerging artists in seven eclectic concerts and four exceptional workshops, as well as special presentations for high school music students. From March 19 to April 10 in the West Island (Dorval, Beaconsfield, Pointe-Claire, Hudson) and for the first time in Westmount, Festival de la Voix Founder and Artistic Director Kerry-Anne Kutz welcomes people from all over the city to explore, enjoy and celebrate the beauty, versatility and power of music and the human voice.

“Many of the invited festival guests have waited two years to perform live. This chance to prepare, to join musical colleagues, and to play their music is of utmost importance to our artists; to all artists,” Kutz said.

This year’s diverse mix of styles and voices includes shows like CHORALISSIMO! highlighting two superb choirs — Le Chœur de chambre du Québec directed by Robert Ingari and Phoebus Men’s Choir directed by Roseline Blain; the Grand Concert featuring mezzo-soprano Florence Bourget with harpist Valérie Milot, and Sainte-Anne Singers & Philomela Singers directed by Margo Keenan; Oliver Forest and the authentic spiritual music of Imani Gospel SingersThey Sing Everything! with energetic, emerging talents singing Broadway, opera and pop; a show dedicated to seniors—Dark Divas by acclaimed vocalist, actor, songwriter Ranee Lee sharing songs from the great voices of the African American vocal tradition including Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald; Steel Rail playing their special blend of ‘folkgrass’ music; and the Concert Vox Aeterna featuring soprano Frédéricka Petit-Homme and Montreal’s first culturally diverse symphony orchestra, Ensemble Obiora, bringing a new voice to classical music in Canada. The festival also offers school concerts, an invaluable way to encourage children to engage with live performance. This year it’s the musical ensemble of Les Fusiliers de Mont-Royal.

Kutz acknowledges how important it is to have so many culturally diverse singers and instrumentalists performing the music of such a wide variety of composers and world-renowned artists, “We are addressing a vital need to see diversity on stage. Ensemble Obiora, Ranee Lee, Imani Gospel Singers and our workshop clinician Dr. Claudel Callender are examples of the presence of the high calibre of black musicians in our community.”

From Brandyn Lewis, artistic director of Ensemble Obiora, “We are thrilled to be making our first appearance at Festival de la Voix which always features such talented artists. This concert will provide an opportunity for us to expand our repertoire to include music for voice, and to program unfamiliar works by composers of colour whose contributions have gone unnoticed.”

 Robert Ingari is the director of Le Choeur de chambre du Québec, part of this year’s CHORALISSIMO! concert, “The 17 members of the choir and pianist Carmen Picard are delighted to finally be able to share the stage together and impart our love for new music composed to beautiful French texts. Our evocative program, rich in colour and harmony, will showcase the talents of all our members, some of whom will also play an instrument on stage. Long live singing and long live Festival de la Voix!” he said.

Outstanding workshops on offer this year are Breath and the Basics of Good Singing with Dr. Claudel Callender focusing on alignment, breath, vowels, phrasing and falsetto; Acting and Physicalizing Text with Centaur Theatre Artistic Director, Eda Holmes concentrating on portraying the lyrics in the song by exploring  mental and physical flexibility, spontaneity, and the many emotions evoked; Songwriting with JUNO Award-winner Connie Kaldortouching on the main elements of rhythm, melody and lyrics, and culminating with a new song; and Advanced Choral Techniques with choir master Philippe Bourque working on tone production, phrasing and performance practices for a number of chosen pieces. Workshop scholarships are available upon request to those in need, particularly teenagers and young adults who don’t have the opportunity to study privately.

Festival de la Voix includes concerts and workshops for people of all ages, from grade school to senior citizens. The festival’s mandate is to bring various communities together to celebrate music and the coming of spring.

 Festival de la Voix 9th edition, March 19-April 10, 2022

Complete festival program, dates, venues and artist bios at www.festivaldelavoix.com

Tickets for matinee and evening shows range from $20-$30

Workshops: $30-$40

For further information: (514) 758-3641 info@festivaldelavoix.com

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