CNova’s History of Collaboration – Thoughts on the Prairie Songbook by Mel Braun

Camerata Nova has a long history of collaborations and the Prairie Songbook is no exception. Whether it’s early, contemporary, and Indigenous-infused music, we always welcome the opportunity to explore new ways of collaborating. The Prairie Songbook collaboration has several interesting angles.

We begin with our crackerjack band, comprised of cousins Micah Braun, Jason Pankratz and David Pankratz, who are collaborating as a unit with their dads, Mel Braun, and Vic Pankratz, for the first time. Veterans of local bands Quinzy, Begonia, The Nods, and Jicah, these terrific singers, players, and songwriters anchor this event with their stunning vocal and instrumental talents.

Crack band, comprised of cousins Micah Braun, Jason Pankratz and David Pankratz, collaborating with their dads, Mel Braun and Vic Pankratz, as well as the amazing CNova choir, for the first time

Singer-songwriter Raine Hamilton, fresh off the success of her new album “Night Sky”, brings her unique fiddle style and beautiful voice as our special guest artist. A former Medieval Musicologist, Raine has a fresh approach to song-writing. Her paean to Hildegard of Bingen has to be heard to be believed, a perfect opportunity for Camerata’s characteristic drones and overtones.

Prairie Songbook special guest, Raine Hamilton

A word on the arrangements you’ll hear tonight: The Manitoba choral scene is blessed with an abundance of fine composers and arrangers. Philip Lapatha, conductor of Ecco; and Prairie Voices conductor, Geung Kroeker Lee, have been thrilling their audiences with new arrangements of recent pop offerings. Philip brings us imaginative new perspectives on Joni Mitchell and Ruth Moody songs, while Geung Kroeker Lee contributes funky arrangements of hits by local bands Begonia and Royal Canoe. Steven Webb, an award-winning film score and choral composer brings us tasty arrangements of more Manitoba hits by Imaginary Cities and JP Hoe, while Dan Wiebe, veteran WSO pop arranger and longtime lead singer for House of Doc, brings us an unexpected take on Neil Young and KD Lang.

Mel Braun and his son, Micah

I had the pleasure of creating new versions of familiar songs by The Guess Who, BTO, and Corb Lund, as well as arranging two favourite songs from my son Micah’s catalogue. Each of the arrangements heard tonight is by a Manitoban and ten of them are brand new. Of course, none of this would be possible without the amazing singers that constitute Camerata Nova. Whatever the style, these flexible musicians bring it to life with joy and integrity. Thank-you singers, our Prairie Hymns have never sounded better! We’ve had a great time exploring all these delightful and varied arrangements from the Prairie Songbook.  We can’t wait to share them with you. – Mel Braun

Mel Braun (forefront) and Vic Pankratz (left) lead the choir through a rehearsal for the Prairie Songbook

The Prairie Songbook will be performed twice on March 9 at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm and again on March 10 at 3:00 pm at Park Theatre (698 Osborne) in Winnipeg.

Every few years, Camerata Nova likes to kick back to just have fun with friends and fans. For this special event, we will present great folk and pop standards as well as recent tunes by cool, local artists. From The Wailin’ Jennys to The Guess Who, from Joni Mitchell to Royal Canoe, from KD Lang to JP Hoe, we’ll celebrate our “wheatfield soul” in all its diversity. With the help of a 4-piece house band of talented musicians, Camerata Nova will turn the Park Theatre into your favourite coffee house. Come join us and blow away your winter blues!

TICKETS

Tickets are available online at cameratanova.com, at McNally Robinson Booksellers, by phone
(204.918.4547), or at the door. Purchase the last two concerts of Camerata Nova’s 2018-2019 season at the special price of $50 for adults, $40 for seniors and $20 for under 30s (or, for two, $90, $70 and $30). See cameratanova.com  for details.

DONATE

Camerata Nova is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization. Exploring, taking risks, and developing exciting new programming, takes time, energy, and money.

Click here to find out more about donating.

Blow Away Your Winter Blues with the Prairie Songbook

Camerata Nova and award-winning guest musician Raine Hamilton will be letting their hair down and opening a 20th century songbook to celebrate their modern prairie roots. Under the joint direction of Mel Braun and Vic Pankratz, the group’s second concert of the season will be a party to remember!

The Prairie Songbook will be performed twice on March 9 at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm and again on March 10 at 3:00 pm at Park Theatre (698 Osborne) in Winnipeg.

Every few years, Camerata Nova likes to kick back to just have fun with friends and fans. For this special event, we will present great folk and pop standards as well as recent tunes by cool, local artists. From The Wailin’ Jennys to The Guess Who, from Joni Mitchell to Royal Canoe, from KD Lang to JP Hoe, we’ll celebrate our “wheatfield soul” in all its diversity. With the help of a 4-piece house band of talented musicians, Camerata Nova will turn the Park Theatre into your favourite coffee house. Come join us and blow away your winter blues!

TICKETS

Tickets are available online at cameratanova.com, at McNally Robinson Booksellers, by phone
(204.918.4547), or at the door. Purchase the last two concerts of Camerata Nova’s 2018-2019 season at the special price of $50 for adults, $40 for seniors and $20 for under 30s (or, for two, $90, $70 and $30). See cameratanova.com  for details.

DONATE

Camerata Nova is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization. Exploring, taking risks, and developing exciting new programming, takes time, energy, and money.

Click here to find out more about donating.

Raine Hamilton Joins us for The Prairie Songbook

Camerata Nova is excited to have 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award Winner for Emerging artist of the Year, Raine Hamilton, join us for our March 9+10 concert The Prairie Songbook. The concert takes place March 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm and March 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm at the Park Theatre. Tickets for individual concerts are available through our website, by phone (204-918-4547), or at the door.

Raine Hamilton – Resonant, acoustic chamber folk with an otherworldly edge, and a lyric presence that cuts deep. Prism-clear vocals and strings; A combination of vocal agility and power.

Raine Hamilton‘s new album, Night Sky, tips between the earthly and the otherworldly; it is anchored in relatable lived experience, while reaching into the space just beyond, thinning the veil between here and there, affording safe passage to the rough and beautiful places.

Raine’s ethereal voice and lyrics are at the forefront of these powerful and relatable tunes, written both in English and in French. Alongside cello + double bass, and with Raine on violin or guitar, these songs have a moving string quartet feel with a cosmic reach.

Raine is also a charming and funny storyteller, pairing her vulnerable tunes with engaging story intros. Raine believes that music is for everyone, and that we all have something to share. An experienced educator, Raine offers workshops in songwriting and fiddle tune writing (EN/FR). Raine also offers concerts with American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, to help make live music and the community that comes with it accessible to the Deaf community.

Raine has toured Canada extensively, driving, flying, and floating her way coast to coast. Highlights include: Performing songs with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (3 times!), playing a concert in a cave (10 stories below the earth!), playing festivals across Canada (Home County, Filberg Fest, Lilac Fest, The Works, Harvest Sun, Harvest Moon, Trout Forest), playing for her passage on Via Rail, and meeting so many amazing humans along the way. She reports a full and smiling heart <3.

Raine Hamilton’s new album, Night Sky, was released in March 2018

Check out and follow Raine on her socials: WebsiteYouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Spotify

The Prairie Songbook takes place March 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm and March 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm at the Park Theatre. Tickets for individual concerts are available through our website, by phone (204-918-4547), or at the door.

Every few years, we kick back to just have fun with friends and fans. For this special Park Theatre event, Camerata Nova will present a great selection of songs from prairie artists arranged by Manitoba composers/arrangers. From the Wailin’ Jennys to The Guess Who, from Joni Mitchel to Royal Canoe, from KD Lang to JP Hoe, we’ll celebrate our “wheatfield soul” in all its diversity.

Led by Mel Braun and Vic Pankratz and featuring a 4-piece house band of talented musicians, Camerata Nova will turn the Park Theatre into your favourite coffee house. Come join us and blow away your winter blues!

Video excerpts from Notinikew by Andrew Balfour

This past November 2018, Camerata Nova performed Fallen, the second concert in our Truth and Reconciliation series. Here’s what Camerata Nova’s Artistic Director, and Fallen composer, Andrew Balfour, had to say about it.

Artistic Director, and Fallen composer, Andrew Balfour

About three years ago, I became fascinated with the idea of marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with a mini-opera on the founding of the 107th Timber Wolf Battalion in 1915.  It’s an amazing story about 1000 men, half settler and half indigenous, who fought together in some of the most famous battles of the Great War.


I Went to War / Poni pimacisiwin (the end of living) is an excerpt from Notinikew (Going to War) by Andrew Balfour with soloist and narrator Andrew Balfour, traditional Ojibway drummer-singer Cory Campbell, cellist Cris Derksen and the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir

At the same time as this was percolating, Camerata Nova decided to create a Truth and Reconciliation concert series, lasting over a number of years.  Each concert has a theme that resonates with Canadian indigenous experience and, over the series, we are inviting a range of incredible indigenous artists to collaborate with us.   Our first T&R concert was Taken, performed in Winnipeg and Ottawa in 2017, featuring Cree hip hop artist Lindsay Knight (Eekwol) and recent Polaris winner Jeremy Dutcher.

Fallen is our second.  It has evolved in a fascinating way.  On one hand, I have been delving into the other-world, terrifying experiences that Cree and Ojibway warriors in the Timber Wolves must have experienced in WWI, having no idea what it meant to enlist or why or how they came to be in the midst of the mud and gas in Europe.

On the other hand, as I read literature and poetry from ordinary individuals in Europe at the time, I was also deeply touched by the profound helplessness and sadness they felt as their sons, brothers – and themselves – fell victim to such prolonged, useless and outrageous slaughter.

Fallen is a deeply felt anti-war concert, not just focussed on “the war to end all wars” but on those before, those after and, tragically, on the wars yet to come.


Kakichiwewan is an excerpt from Notinikew (Going to War) by Andrew Balfour with soloist and narrator Andrew Balfour, traditional Ojibway drummer-singer Cory Campbell, cellist Cris Derksen and the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir

There is no better way to open this concert than with a traditional Prayer Song from Ojibway friend and Song Keeper, Cory Campbell.  He performs with a straightforward purity, humility and strength that grounds and guides me as I straddle settler and indigenous worlds.  Thank you, Cory, for your openness, your help with language and the example you set for how I should approach my music and my life.

Notinikew:  I wrote this work over the summer while I was in St. John’s Newfoundland, then Toronto, then Temagami in Northern Ontario and, finally, in the Herdsman House Artist Retreat in Neubergthal, south of Winnipeg.  It’s been quite a journey – in all senses.  My original idea was to write a partly fictional mini opera about the story of the Timber Wolves, but this morphed into a more abstract choral drama.  Scored for adult choir, treble choir, baritone solo/performance artist, cello and traditional drummer-singer, Notinikew is an anti-war piece, an indigenous identity piece – a tragedy that speaks not just about World War I, but all wars and all indigenous soldiers.

Why did these Indigenous warriors leave our forests and plains to enter a totally foreign military world and end up fighting in the midst of a true hell on earth?  It’s very difficult to find good source material. I’ve been studying old pictures and gleaning the odd article, but I’ve also used my imagination to express the experience/feelings of people I’ve never met with as much integrity and respect as I can. I think of the shock, disorientation and horror that would have marked these men for their entire lives.  I think also of their re-entry to Canada.  As skilled sappers and snipers, they were accepted and respected by their white counterparts.  When they returned home, they went back to the degrading label of “Indian”, receiving none of the benefits or recognition of other Canadian soldiers.  Plus, they were often ostracized by their own communities because they had taken the side of the government.  As the Narrator says near the end of Notinikew: “Where is our place in your history?  Where?”

Notinikew was difficult to write but also magical and important.  It is an honour to try, in my own way, to tell the stories of our people.  In addition to Cory, my guide and compass, I want to thank Cris Derksen who is so talented and creative – this collaboration has been so much fun, and I think it’s just the start…  Also, I could not do these ambitious projects without Mel Braun.  He “gets” me and what we are trying to do and has respect for all around him.  He is not afraid of experimentation and undefined elements and magically, calmly pulls it all together.

Finally, Notinikew is dedicated to my partner, Sara Roque, and her Richardson family.  You have opened your doors and opened up my life.  You have given me a new, powerful understandings of what it means to be indigenous.  Best of all, you have given me patience and love. – Andrew Balfour, October 27, 2018

 

Upcoming Concerts – The Prairie Songbook and Death by Chocolate: The Life and Death of Henry Purcell

The Prairie Songbook 
March 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm and March 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm at the Park Theatre

Every few years, we kick back to just have fun with friends and fans. For this special Park Theatre event, Camerata Nova will present great folk and pop standards as well as recent tunes by cool, local artists. From the Wailin’ Jennys to The Guess Who, from Joni Mitchell to Royal Canoe, from KD Lang to JP Hoe, we’ll celebrate our “wheatfield soul” in all its diversity.

Led by Mel Braun and Vic Pankratz and featuring a 4-piece house band of talented musicians, Camerata Nova will turn the Park Theatre into your favourite coffee house. Come join us and blow away your winter blues!

Death by Chocolate: The Life and Death of Henry Purcell
May 4, 2019 at 7:30 pm and May 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church (Pre-concert talks at 6:45 pm on Saturday and 2:45 pm on Sunday)

In this concert curated and conducted by John Wiens, Camerata Nova seeks to showcase choral works by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and to explore the life of this composer, arguably the greatest of the English Baroque period. Join us to find out how cocoa can kill…

Death by Chocolate offers top quality performers and powerful repertoire – a rare musical treat. Four Winnipeg vocal soloists: Dayna Lamothe, soprano, Jane Fingler, soprano, James Magnus-Johnson, tenor, and Jereme Wall, bass will be joined by early music instrumentalists Claudine St-Arnauld, violin, Jeremy Buzasch, violin, Greg Hay, viola, Yuri Hooker, cello, Andrew Goodlett, bass, and Michael McKay, organ continuo. To add a star attraction and flair to the concert, we are also bringing in the exciting young Canadian countertenor, Daniel Cabena, who specializes in early and contemporary performance.  The countertenor voice has a caché and curiosity that is sure to send many a heart afflutter.  Repertoire will include: Rondeau from Abdelazar; O Sing unto the Lord; My Heart Is Inditing; Hear My Prayer, O Lord; Te Deum and Jubilate in D; plus Three Funeral Sentences.

Tickets

Tickets for individual concerts are available through our website, by phone (204-918-4547), or at the door. Two-concert mini-packages are also available ($35, $30, $20, or for two, $65, $55, $35). Individual ticket prices available on our website.

Donate

Camerata Nova is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization. Exploring, taking risks, and developing exciting new programming, takes time, energy, and money.

Click here to find out more about donating.

 

Giving Tuesday

Give the joy of music this giving season…

Tuesday, November 27, 2018, is Giving Tuesday, the international philanthropic movement that unites communities to bring about real change by encouraging people and charities to work together.

We are proud to count you among our valued partners. Music lovers from all over recognize Camerata Nova, vocal group without fear, as one of our community’s most prized musical institutions. Since 1996, we’ve continued to push the envelope, offering early music performances, premiers of Manitoba compositions, and an eclectic array in between.
 
The impact of your support is truly extraordinary. With your help, for the past three years, Camerata Nova’s artistic director, Andrew Balfour, who is of Cree descent, has been able to bring the gift of music north to the smaller, more remote schools that do not have formal music education programs, and teach students there how to create and perform their own soundscapes to describe their community, their family or the land around them.
 
And thanks to you, Camerata Nova is presenting outstanding performances season after season, including a multi-year series of truly impactful truth and reconciliation concerts. Whether supporting our outreach efforts, programming or operations, you make it all happen! Your tax-deductible donation to Camerata Nova brings about real and lasting change.
 
What difference are YOU making this giving season? Please consider Camerata Nova for a donation today. Your end-of-year support will help empower hundreds of students this school year, enabling these children to express themselves through the joy of music.

   
Offrez la joie de la musique en cette saison de générosité….
 
Le mardi 27 novembre 2018, c’est « Mardi, je donne », le mouvement philanthropique international qui unit les communautés dans le but d’apporter de réels changements en encourageant les gens et les organismes de bienfaisance à travailler ensemble.
 
Nous sommes fiers de vous compter parmi nos précieux partenaires. Les mélomanes de partout reconnaissent Camerata Nova, groupe vocal intrépide, comme l’une des institutions musicales les plus prisées de notre communauté. Depuis 1996, nous n’avons cessé de repousser les limites de son répertoire, offrant des prestations de musique ancienne, des premières de compositions manitobaines et un assortiment des plus éclectiques entre les deux.
 
L’impact de votre soutien est vraiment remarquable. Avec votre aide, depuis trois ans, le directeur artistique de Camerata Nova, Andrew Balfour, qui est d’origine crie, a été en mesure d’apporter le don de la musique dans des écoles plus petites et plus éloignées  qui n’ont pas de programmes officiels d’éducation musicale et d’enseigner aux élèves comment créer et interpréter leur propre paysage sonore pour décrire leur communauté, leur famille ou la terre qui les entoure.
 
Et grâce à vous, Camerata Nova présente des concerts exceptionnels, saison après saison, y compris une série pluriannuelle de concerts saisissants sur le thème de la vérité et de la réconciliation qui ont eu un véritable impact. Qu’il s’agisse d’appuyer nos activités de rayonnement, de programmation ou d’exploitation, c’est vous qui faites en sorte que tout se concrétise! Votre don déductible d’impôt à Camerata Nova apporte un changement réel et durable.
 
Quel impact avez-VOUS en cette saison de générosité? Veuillez envisager de faire un don à Camerata Nova aujourd’hui. Votre soutien de fin d’année aidera des centaines d’élèves à s’exprimer à travers la joie de la musique au cours de cette année scolaire.

Click here to find out more about donating to Camerata Nova and other fantastic charities today.

Upcoming Concerts

Following successful back-to-back performances of our concert Fallen, Camerata Nova has a quick turnaround with a free Santa Clause Parade Day Concert at the Manitoba Hydro Building (Nov 17), as well as A Concert in Benefit of Sistema Winnipeg (Nov 18). Read more below.

Santa Claus Parade Day Concert

Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 2:30 pm in the Atrium of the Manitoba Hydro Building – A light holiday concert led by conductor Vic Pankratz to get you in the spirit before watching the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade. Enjoy cookies and hot chocolate at this free concert in the Atrium of the Manitoba Hydro Building. Our free performance features Christmas classics, Camerata Nova originals, as well as some sing-alongs.
The event is supported by Manitoba Hydro

A Concert in Benefit of Sistema Winnipeg

Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 2:00 pm, at St. John’s College, University of Winnipeg – This concert in benefit of Sistema Winnipeg will feature the Sistema students in their first public performance of the 2018 – 2019 season. Sistema Winnipeg is an intensive after-school program that uses orchestral music to serve children with the fewest resources and the greatest need. The concert will also feature the innovative choral music of Camerata Nova. The event is hosted by Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Resident Conductor, Julian Pellicano and held at the St. John’s College Chapel, University of Manitoba, 92 Dysart Road on Sunday November 18 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $40 for adult and $15 for students and children. Help us to help this innovative inner-city music program.

Reception and Silent Auction to follow the concert.

For more info and to purchase tickets, please visit Sistema Winnipeg.

Fallen: From a Singer’s Point of View – Dr. Liz Przybylski

Before the band started to play, the director came to the mic to prepare the audience for what we were about to hear. The players on stage were about to begin their version of an armed forces salute. The director invited those of us seated in the concert hall to stand if we or a family member served in the branch of the armed services when we heard the corresponding anthem. Dozens of college students picked up their instruments, and the band began to play. With my fellow audience members, I turned to see men and women stand around me in the hall, the audience applauding service members past and present and their families. This salute, the director explained, was a way for the band at my city’s local college to pay tribute to veterans. It’s something I’ve heard before here where I live in the U.S., but the timing resonated with me as I’d never experienced before: we had convened to raise money and support for local people experiencing homelessness.

Why a military salute at a concert for those in our community who are not stably housed? Veterans are represented in significant numbers among people who lack stable housing. In that concert hall, I felt the discomfort of the juxtaposition of the audience’s desire to honor veterans even as we have a way to go in terms of providing material and social supports to individuals who served in the armed forces.

At the First World War centenary, concerts and events are being staged to honor veterans throughout Canada, the U.S., and around the world. Yet, how many of these programs encourage us also to act and reflect in response to how veterans were and are treated upon their return home?

I felt that question strongly when I was in the audience at a concert hall. Group music making generates a reflective space in which these questions can resonate. It’s fitting then to listen for another concert space that offers an opportunity to work through answers.

This November, Camerata Nova will be performing Andrew Balfour’s new work “Notinikew.” In collaboration with conductor Mel Braun, pop ‘cellist Cris Derksen, Drummer/singer Cory Campbell, the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir, and an ensemble of vocalists, Balfour will share a musical story that sits between reverence and responsibility. While acknowledging the service of Indigenous veterans such as Sergeant Tommy Prince, “Notinikew” will let us ask ourselves, what might it mean for Indigenous young people to have signed up to fight for their country, and then returned home second-class citizens? This piece, while historical in nature, has us face contemporary questions: Where are we in our journey towards remembering Indigenous individuals among the canon of Canadian historical greats? What has – and has not—changed in the past hundred years in the relationships between First Nations and the Canadian state, and what work needs to be done?

I was honored to sing with Camerata Nova when Balfour first presented “Take the Indian” at the New Music Festival in 2015 and later at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This composition in many ways sparked the three-part series of concerts that serves as the ensemble’s response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I’ll be in the audience at the concert Fallen this November 3rd and 4th, ready to listen to Camerata Nova’s reflection on service, responsibility, and community. As in the concert I heard this past weekend, I’ll also be ready to ask myself, what can I do to move us together towards fulfilling our collective responsibility towards each other? I hope you’ll join me.

An Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Riverside, hip hop scholar Dr. Liz Przybylski specializes in Indigenous popular music practices in Canada and the United States. A graduate of Bard College (BA) and Northwestern University (MA, PhD), Liz has presented her research nationally and internationally. Her recent publications have appeared in Ethnomusicology, Journal of Borderlands Studies, IASPM@Journal, and others. She teaches courses on Indigenous music, popular music, ethnographic methods, and gender studies. In addition to her university teaching, Liz has taught at the American Indian Center in Chicago, hosted the world music show “Continental Drift” on WNUR in Chicago, and has conducted interviews with musicians for programs including “At The Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research” on CJUM in Winnipeg. Liz serves as the Media Reviews Editor for the journal American Music.

Dr. Liz Przybylski

An Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Riverside, hip hop scholar Dr. Liz Przybylski specializes in Indigenous popular music practices in Canada and the United States. A graduate of Bard College (BA) and Northwestern University (MA, PhD), Liz has presented her research nationally and internationally. Her recent publications have appeared in Ethnomusicology, Journal of Borderlands Studies, IASPM@Journal, and others. She teaches courses on Indigenous music, popular music, ethnographic methods, and gender studies. In addition to her university teaching, Liz has taught at the American Indian Center in Chicago, hosted the world music show “Continental Drift” on WNUR in Chicago, and has conducted interviews with musicians for programs including “At The Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research” on CJUM in Winnipeg. Liz serves as the Media Reviews Editor for the journal American Music.

Meet Some of the Amazing Singers Who Will be Joining us for our Fallen Concert

 

from top left: Ben Sellick, Jane Fingler, John Anderson, Kathleen Murphy

Camerata Nova, and the Manitoba choir community as a whole, are so lucky to have access to some of the best talent in the country. Ben Sellick, Jane Fingler, John Anderson, and Kathleen Murphy are just four of the 14 amazing singers who’ll be joining us this weekend (Nov 3-4) for our concert Fallen, taking place at the Crescent Fort Rouge United Church.

Fallen performers include Artistic Director / Directeur artistique, Andrew Balfour; Sopranos: Jane Fingler, Sarah Sommer, Brittany Mielnichuk, Sydney Clarke; Altos: Donnalynn Grills, Angela Neufeld, Kathleen Murphy; Tenors: Scott Reimer, Andrew Thomson, Dave Sawatzky; Basses: Alan Schroeder, Ben Sellick, John Anderson, George Bajer-Koulack; Featured Artists: Cris Derkesen, Cory Campbell; as well as the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir.

Ben Sellick grew up playing music, traveling, and watching movies. He went to the University of Manitoba, where he studied piano and film. First with Elroy Friesen, and then under Michael Zaugg, Ben began singing and writing choral music, receiving his first major compositional premiere by Pro Coro Canada in their 2017-2018 season. Ben likes the colour orange, olive oil, wool socks, lakes, film music, El Greco, and podcasts.

Jane Fingler is a Winnipeg based Soprano who has has the pleasure of singing in Camerata Nova for the past seven seasons. She also sings in other Winnipeg based choral groups Polycoro and Canzona, performing music old and new, appearing as a soloist as well as an ensemble member. Jane teaches voice lessons, tries to write music sometimes and loves to sing and perform pop/folk music that have great harmonies! She loves being a part of the Camerata Family! <3

Born and raised in Winnipeg, John Anderson has been a lifelong lover of singing. With a passion for choir, theatre and composition, John has recently graduated from the University of Manitoba Desautels Faculty of Music and is excited to now begin making music and telling stories more widely in the Winnipeg community.

Kathleen Murphy is a mezzo-soprano & pianist from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  She is currently completing her degree in undergraduate piano at the University of Manitoba with David Moroz, and pursues vocal studies with Mel Braun.  She has performed in concerts, masterclasses, & festivals as a vocalist, pianist, and choir member. Kathleen also has a passion for music theory & history, and is planning to pursue a post baccalaureate degree in vocal performance.

TICKETS

*Tickets are available from our website, at McNally Robinson Booksellers, by phone (204-918-4947), or at the door. Two- or three-concert subscriptions ($35 to $125) for Camerata Nova’s 2018-2019 season are also available. See cameratanova.com for details.

DONATE

Camerata Nova is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization. Exploring, taking risks, and developing exciting new programming, takes time, energy, and money.

Click here to find out more about donating.

Fallen: A Truth and Reconciliation Concert

Camerata Nova’s landmark concert series highlighting truth and reconciliation with the Indigenous peoples of Canada is returning this November with Fallen, the second of three concerts designed by artistic director and composer Andrew Balfour. As with many trilogies, you don’t need to have seen the first to appreciate the second.

Andrew Balfour leading a rehearsal with the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir

Fallen will be presented on Nov. 3 and 4. The first of the series, Taken, premiered on March 4 and 5, 2017 in Winnipeg before moving out east to be performed in the National Arts Centre’s Canada 150 Festival in June.

Taken – which featured Polaris Prize-winning artist Jeremy Dutcher, hip hop artist Eekwol from Muskoday First Nation in Saskatchewan, CBC reporter and throat singer Madeleine Allakariallak and cellist Leanne Zacharias with Camerata Nova’s chamber choir – received praise for being “innovative, inclusive and thoroughly engaging” (ARTSFILE). It dealt with the subject of Indigenous children being taken from their homes and the stripping of their culture by residential schools.

Fallen continues the conversation of truth and reconciliation with the Indigenous peoples of Canada by exploring the contributions of Indigenous soldiers in the First World War, featuring a choral drama entitled Notinikew (He who takes part in war), written by Balfour. This time around, Camerata Nova will be joined by Indigenous cellist Cris Derksen, traditional drummer and singer Cory Campbell and the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir. The concert, conducted by Mel Braun, will also feature Requiem, a piece by English composer Herbert Howells on the death of his young son.

Balfour’s inspiration for Notinikew was sparked by his love of history, particularly the European wars. “While Indigenous individuals of Canada have fought in every major conflict from the War of 1812 to Afghanistan, they were rewarded for their contributions to WWI by being denied benefits and forbidden to leave their reserves,” said Balfour.

The motivations as to why Indigenous people would fight for a country that eradicated their culture fascinated Balfour. “All war is insanity”, said Balfour. “I wanted to do an anti-war piece, but also question why Indigenous people would go and fight in that war, and what would drive them to sign up and travel overseas and fight in the bloodiest conflict ever at that time.”

“Maybe they went to fight to better their cause at home; maybe they thought if they fought for Canada that our country would reward them with giving them their ceremony or language back. Maybe they had a sense of honour. Maybe they wanted adventure.”

Balfour founded Camerata Nova in 1996 to explore early music – sparked by his love for Renaissance and medieval works – but it wasn’t until years later that he began composing his own music and exploring the power of Indigenous music.

Balfour was a victim of the Sixties Scoop, taken from his Cree family at a young age and placed in the home of an Anglican priest. While he says his home was loving and supportive, it disconnected him from his people, his culture and his music. Through writing pieces for Camerata Nova and researching Indigenous cultures, Balfour rediscovered a part of his identity and learned to embrace his people’s music.

“I didn’t know anything about my language or my heritage, so it’s a process,” said Balfour. “It’s a very important way of reclaiming a lost identity.”

For Sandi Mielitz, president of Camerata Nova’s board of directors, watching Balfour grow as an artist and embrace his identity has been a rewarding experience.

“I’ve seen a guy with a huge amount of musical talent who then took it and learned how to not only evolve his music into something more and more sophisticated and abstract, but also evolve his whole identity,” said Mielitz.

While the struggles and triumphs of the Indigenous peoples of Canada can be researched through spoken and written works, Balfour and Mielitz agree that music provides another layer of connection for audiences to understand their experiences.

“When a story is told in music, it touches you in a way that dry facts just simply don’t,” said Mielitz. “All of the arts have a way of touching you and emotionally engaging you in experiencing stories.”

“The legacy of storytelling is so important, and I feel that the power of music or word or dance or visual arts are really important for people to either heal or explore their own wounds and legacies through art,” Balfour agreed. “The idea of doing these call-to-action concerts has been very important for myself as an artist and our community.”

Camerata Nova’s rehearsals are well underway, and for Balfour, the journey from looking at notes on a computer screen to hearing them sung live by the full chamber choir is an exciting one.

“It takes a lot of work, but we have an amazing organization and we have people, mostly non-Indigenous, that realize the importance of this, and that’s the country that I want to live in,” said Balfour. “Where people are healing or helping the healing or listening, because that’s really the most important thing. Particularly politicians – they need to listen.”

Fallen takes place at 7:30 pm on Nov. 3 and at 3 pm on Nov. 4 at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church (corner of Nassau and Wardlaw), with pre-concert talks 45 minutes before both shows*. The third and final concert of the series, Captive – a piece on Indigenous peoples’ incarceration – will be presented in 2020.
-Graeme Houssin

TICKETS

*Tickets are available from our website, at McNally Robinson Booksellers, by phone (204-918-4947), or at the door. Two- or three-concert subscriptions ($35 to $125) for Camerata Nova’s 2018-2019 season are also available. See cameratanova.com for details.

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Camerata Nova is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization. Exploring, taking risks, and developing exciting new programming, takes time, energy, and money.

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