Celebrate in Song 2022 re-awakens ensemble singing in Fredericton

Joel Tranquilla, music instructor and choir coordinator for the event, during a rehearsal this past Friday, Oct 28th, 2022. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

After three years of restrictions and uncertainty, the New Brunswick Choral Federation hosted a concert in partnership with the Canadian Chamber Choir, “Celebrate in Song,” on Oct. 30 at Grace Memorial Baptist Church.

Leo Macneil, the Executive Director of New Brunswick Choral Federation, said that this concert signified a “renewal or reawakening” of engagement in choral singing in the Fredericton region. 

“[The repertoire] has as its theme — an arising or awakening or being being woken up, which has obvious relevance to where we are now,” said Macneil.

The Canadian Chamber Choir is made up of singers across Canada who come together throughout the year to perform. The conductor, Joel Tranquilla, and four of the choir’s members, one from each section, are coming to Fredericton before a tour the whole choir will perform in Nova Scotia.

Macneil said that having Tranquilla’s participation in this event has been very exciting.

“Tranquilla is the anchor in all of this … we’ve been looking for a way to bring him and his expertise and his enthusiasm and his love of community singing here because this is his hometown,” said Macneil. 

The visiting performers from the Canadian Chamber Choir will act as section leaders for groups made up of singers from the Fredericton Choral Society, Sussex Choral Society, as well as elementary children from Hanwell Academy. 

Christopher Lane is a member of the Canadian Chamber Choir as well as the choral conductor at the Sussex Choral Society and was one of the four sections leader at the event. 

He explained that efforts to stay connected during the pandemic allowed the transition back to in-person singing to go more smoothly. 

“Through doing rehearsals online we maintained a sense of connection within the group. I think it’s set us in a good spot to resume in some fashion because we had managed to keep not just the scene going but the sense of community going,” said Lane. 

Even though the Sussex Choral Society is almost back to pre-COVID numbers, he says that this concert is still an excellent opportunity for the group to get some advice and guidance from singers with different expertise than his own. 

“To have three of my colleagues joining me for the weekend, who bring a breadth of experience, my singers will have the opportunity to sing with them and know that they have these solid voices beside them if we’re going to help lead them through,” said Lane. 

Lane also said that this event will be a moment for the Fredericton community to attend a choral event and get excited about attending concerts. 

“People are excited. People want to see it. People want to be involved in it and people want to see us get back to what we were able to do before,” said Lane.