Chor Leoni – Orpheum Theatre – December 21, 2019
Vancouver’s renowned Chor Leoni Men’s Choir provided a beautiful break from the hustle and bustle of the season as they presented Christmas with Chor Leoni : Angels Dance this past weekend. Joined by the emerging professional dancers of Arts Umbrella’s Performance Research Project who brought the concert to life for two busy Saturday performances at The Orpheum (a music only performance took place Sunday at West Vancouver United Church).
“The holidays are about coming together as a community and we are thrilled that two of Vancouver’s treasured arts organizations can, on the same stage, share their gifts with our beautiful city,” says Chor Leoni Artistic Director Erick Lichte. “As we raise our voices this holiday season we are honoured to have them met with the incomparable dance and movement of these brilliant emerging dance professionals.”
The Arts Umbrella Dance Company collaborated with the voices of Chor Leoni for three extended selections. Malcolm Dalglish’s Appalachian inspired arrangement of Star in the East, featured Vivian Chen on harp, and choreography by Livona Ellis to close out the first act.
After the intermission, composer Conrad Susa found the culture of the American Southwest inspiring for his sunny Carols & Lullabies, which featured movement choreographed by Lesley Telford. Brandon Lee Alley choreographed the dancers to accompany Chor Leoni Composer-in-Residence Zachary Wadsworth’s brand new work, Two Counting Carols.
The Christmas with Chor Leoni program also includes Franz Biebl’s radiant Ave Maria and Randall Thompson’s Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In arranged by Vancouver icon Ed Henderson. Chor Leoni Artistic Director Erick Lichte created an arrangement of Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexmith’s Maybe This Christmas. Of course, the program also featured Christmas classics like, Hark, The Herald Angels Sing, a bluegrass Jingle Bells and Silent Night, during which the audience was invited to sing-a-long, enhancing a sense of community.
In addition to Arts Umbrella Dance, Chor Leoni was joined onstage by pianist Tina Chang, harpist Vivian Chen, guitarist Ed Henderson, and percussionist Katie Rife.
Artemis Gordon, Artistic Director of the Arts Umbrella Dance program, describes Angels Dance as “a beautiful collision of dance and music creating an effervescence of soaring spirits.” Arts Umbrella President and CEO Paul Larocque agrees, saying, “Collaborations are always exciting but this one is so close to my heart. I’m extremely proud to bring together two organizations that I’ve been deeply involved with for close to two decades. I can’t wait to sing and see the resulting magic, and I think our combined audiences are going to love it!”
Let’s hope this is the first of many more magical years of Christmas collaboration between Arts Umbrella Dance and Chor Leoni.