September 1, 2020 Update


Dear Amabilis Alumni, Friends and Supporters:

For the first time in 40 years, the start of September will not be ushering in a new Amabilis season. Strange – and gravely disheartening – times indeed, for all of us.

In our June newsletter, we let you know that the board had decided (at the time cautiously, now perhaps optimistically) to postpone the beginning of our season until January 2021.

Choral singing remains a high-risk activity, best with a) permanent bubbles of 6 singers at a time, 2 metres apart, wearing masks b) the conductor in mask and face shield c) for a maximum 30 minutes of singing. We have had to accept that this is presently not a viable way forward for a choir of 70 singers, no matter how desperate we are to make music together.

We’re sure you understand, however, how critical it is for choirs to remain connected during this protracted period of isolation. Our last concert was on February 29 (Magnificat). This was followed by a few rehearsals in preparation for our Anniversary Gala concert before we were unexpectedly forced to shut down. That was 6 months ago. It is now September which, for many of us, is really our ‘New Year’: the start of the academic year and, most importantly, the start of a musical season. And we are struggling…because it is not. But we are resilient and adamant about remaining connected, with you and with each other. Hence, two plans lie in the waiting, which we would like to tell you about.

There has been talk, throughout the choral community, about the possibility of an online rehearsal platform becoming available, which would allow singers to hear each other, as well as themselves. (For all the heaven-sent benefits of Zoom, it only allows for one person to be heard at a time, making the premise of choral singing rather impossible). Should this new platform arrive within the next few weeks, we have scheduled some online rehearsals to keep our voices from rusting over before the season officially begins in January.

Failing that, we will turn to Plan B, which will include several online (Zoom) seminars about things music-related. These will take place on Wednesday evenings and you are certainly invited to join us! Detailed information will be sent out by September 23. If you have a moment, please listen to the world-renowned composer John Rutter speak of the importance of choral music and why it is so cherished the world over: https://youtu.be/pm-Pm1FYZ-U

In closing, let’s tip our hats to a bit of nostalgia, shall we? Five years ago, we would have been preparing for a Homecoming Concert (September 26, 2015), hot on the heels of our remarkable summer tour in Italy. We invite you to have a listen to Amabilis singing what has become somewhat of a theme song for us, Muusika by Pärt Uusberg. Considering its heartfelt and apt poetic sentiments, perhaps it is now more of a rallying cry. Enjoy the music and a trip down an Italian memory lane: https://youtu.be/CrUX4EcsBig

We thank you for your continued support, and for remaining connected with us during these challenging times.

Take good care.

Ramona

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Can you help? Without concerts to generate revenue, would you consider making a donation to help keep Amabilis afloat, until we are able to perform again?

As a registered non-profit charitable organization, Amabilis will issue tax receipts for donations of $25 or more. We are so very grateful for your support.

 

June 8, 2020 Update

Dear Amabilis Alumni, Friends and Supporters:

We wanted to reach out to you and re-connect! We haven’t seen many of you since our Christmas concert and so much has happened since.

We hope that all of you have remained healthy, physically and emotionally. It has certainly been a challenge, dealing with the stressors of isolation, layoffs, businesses closing, and our homes becoming both schools and workplaces. Who knew our quick shops for groceries would become half-day outings, complete with line-ups, shortages, protective masks, disinfectant wipes and the need for social distancing?

These last months have certainly taught us not only how much we take for granted, but also how difficult life becomes when contact with family, friends, co-workers and colleagues is disallowed. Isolation has certainly taken its toll in many ways and on many fronts.

As restrictions are lifted, we must be ever so grateful for our health care system, our health care workers, and the calm and effective leadership of Dr. Bonnie Henry. BC seems to be on a good trajectory as we see businesses and schools open and our social ‘bubbles’ expanding.

However, the news for choral singing is not good. There have been quite a few Town Halls and online discussions, all of which have outlined the great risks of singing caused by the unavoidable proximity of choristers and the inevitable ‘sharing’ of droplets. One physician advised limiting choirs to 6 members sitting 2 metres apart for a reduction in risk – not an elimination of risk. On a separate live webinar, hosted by the ACDA, the outlook was grimmer yet: without a vaccine, there was no way for singers to rehearse or perform together safely for the next 18–24 months.

This is heartbreaking news for us, as you can well imagine.

The other critical issue is the limit of 50 people at any one gathering. This impacts absolutely every performing group, whether it be our symphony, our opera, other choirs, live theatre, ballet etc. With a limit of 50 in the audience, performances cannot be financially viable.

So, the Amabilis Board took the time to discuss, at great length, the difficulties that lie ahead: the many unknowns regarding this Co-Vid pandemic, the prediction of a second wave in the Fall, the limiting audience numbers of 50 and, of course, the possibility of not singing for many months. Keeping in mind that the health of our singers and you, our audience, is of the utmost importance, we have decided to be cautiously optimistic as well as realistic.

Our plans for the 2020–2021 season have been altered so that the season is set to officially begin in January 2021.

Our truncated season outline:

January 13: Official beginning of our season
April 11: 10am service at Shaughnessy Heights United Church
April 14: Rehearsal with alumni
April 21: Rehearsal with alumni
April 23: Dress rehearsal with alumni
April 24: 40th Anniversary Concert
May 21–24: Tour to Kelowna

We would like to stay in touch with you via a monthly update, as we navigate through these uncharted waters. We so miss our weekly rehearsals, the camaraderie, the togetherness, and the chance to learn and perform meaningful music. We are terribly disappointed to have had to postpone our 40th anniversary concert and, with that, the opportunity to meet up with so many of you alumni. Perhaps this forced interruption has made us realize – even more – how important music is for our hearts and for our general well-being.

If you would like to share or comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us (604-437-9200 | choral@telus.net). Should you wish to unsubscribe for the time being (we hope not!), please click on the link at the bottom of this page.

On behalf of the Amabilis Family, we wish you continued good health and a slow, safe return to a more recognizable life.

With warmest regards,

Ramona



photo of Amabilis choir taken in April, 2019

Our 2020–2021 season is tentatively scheduled to begin in January, 2021.

We would like to stay in touch with you as we navigate through these unchartered waters. Feel free to contact us at choral@telus.net. We so miss our weekly rehearsals, the camaraderie, the togetherness, and the chance to learn and perform meaningful music. We are terribly disappointed to have had to postpone our 40th-anniversary concert and, with that, the opportunity to meet up with so many of you who are alumni. Perhaps this forced interruption has made us realize – even more – how important music is for our hearts and for our general well-being.

On behalf of the Amabilis Family, we wish you continued good health and a slow, safe return to a more recognizable life.

With warmest regards,

Ramona
Artistic Director


OUR 2019–2020 ANNIVERSARY SEASON
Celebrating 40 years!

Are you Amabilis alumni?
Please contact us so that we can make sure you are a part of this joyful season!
Amabilispromo@gmail.com

NIGHT OF WONDER

8:00pm Friday, December 13, 2019
2:00pm Saturday, December 14, 2019
New Westminster Christian Reformed Church
8255 13th Ave., between 1st Street and Newcombe, Burnaby

Come, be moved by the stark beauty of Abbie Betinis’ In the Bleak Midwinter, Alan Bullard’s tender The World Has Waited Long, Ian Assersohn’s high-spirited Make We Joy Now in this Fest, and Benjamin Harlan’s sparkling new arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High.
The programme will also include music by Bob Chilcott, Ian Crawford, Dan Forrest, Shawn Kirchner, Sandra Peter and Will Todd.

Beautiful music, favourite carols and boisterous sing-alongs – let us share with each other the spirit that is Christmas.

Adults & Seniors: $25 | Secondary School Students: $15 | Children under 12: still free!
Tickets are available online at Eventbrite, by calling 604. 897.7258, through choir members, or at the door.

MAGNIFICAT

8:00pm Saturday, February 29, 2020
New Westminster Christian Reformed Church
8255 13th Ave., between 1st Street and Newcombe, Burnaby

Erin Sutton, soprano
Andrea Siradze, violinist and string ensemble leader
Lin Kim, organist
Ingrid Verseveldt, pianist

Amabilis is thrilled to present Magnificat by the young Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen. The Magnificat, also known as the Canticle of Mary, is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke and has been a source of inspiration for countless composers over the eras, including Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Bruckner and Penderecki.

Kim Arnesen’s setting was conceived as a prayer for the sick and the poor, out of hope for those who struggle, and as a musical reflection of Mary, who herself was poor and of humble means. Scored for choir, soprano solo, strings, piano and organ, this seven-movement forty-minute work is a remarkable, heartfelt journey supported by beautiful melodic writing, radiant harmonies and exquisite tenderness.

Rounding out the programme will be the stunning new work by Dan Forrest, The Sun Never Says, Martin Sedek’s intimate I Sing of a Maiden and Pärt Uusberg’s glorious Ave Maria.

Please note: This concert will be sung without intermission.

Adults & Seniors: $25 | Secondary School Students: $15 | Children under 12: still free!
Tickets are available online at Eventbrite, by calling 604. 897.7258, through choir members, or at the door.

Image: Our Lady of Guadalupe by Pristine Cartera-Turkus
Used with kind permission of the artist
https://pristine-carteraturkus.pixels.com/

balloons-1869790-image-by-Pexels-from-Pixabay-web

IT’S A PARTY!
Celebrating Our 40th Anniversary

Date and Time to be Announced
New Westminster Christian Reformed Church
8255 13th Ave., between 1st Street and Newcombe, Burnaby

We’re 40 years old!
Join us for an exuberant, high-octane evening of music-making with present and former members of the Amabilis family. Come share in our joy, meet up with old friends, and travel down memory lane with us!

The present Amabilis choir will get things rolling with fabulous music by Carl Orff, Kim André Arnesen, Jake Runestad, Sam Pottle and Jonathan Dove, followed by a few musical toasts – as befits the occasion! – with the help of Jonathan Rathbone and the world of opera.

Together with Amabilis alumni, the concert will conclude with long-standing favourites of ours: Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré, Mozart’s beloved Ave Verum, The Storm is Passing Over arranged by Barbara Baker and a final blast-from-the-past with Hall Johnson’s arrangement of Ain’t Got Time to Die.

Adults & Seniors: $25 | Secondary School Students: $15 | Children under 12: still free!
Tickets are available online at Eventbrite, by calling 604. 897.7258, through choir members, or at the door.

IF YOU ARE AMABILIS ALUMNI AND WOULD LIKE TO BE A PART OF THIS CONCERT,
PLEASE CONTACT US AT Amabilispromo@gmail.com

Required rehearsals for participating alumni:
Wednesday, April 29
Wednesday, May 6
Friday, May 8 – Dress Rehearsal

Amabilis is a registered non-profit charitable organization and able to issue tax receipts.

www.AmabilisSingers.org
General Information and auditions: 604.437.9200
4420 Rumble St., Burnaby, BC V5J 2A3