Our 2022-2023 Season has Begun

The Vocal Latitudes community choir is so excited to announce the beginning of our 2022-2023 season has begun! We are happy to welcome back our existing Calgary and to welcome our new members. If you have been thinking about joining our Calgary community choir, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to register. We are a non-auditioned community choir. If you can carry a tune, you’ll fit right in! You don’t need to be able to read music to be able to join our choir. Our experienced choristers will help you to learn music.

What to Expect

This season we will be back to rehearsing in person. It will be great to have everyone back together. We will also be giving a full range of performances. This includes our concerts as well as guest appearances in the ProArts at Noon series and many other exciting possibilities. You are also able to attend remotely by Zoom if you wish to do so.

What Will We Sing?

The Vocal Latitudes Artistic Advisory committee has chosen a wide range of song and choral work for our 2022 session. Additionally, we will be placing a particular emphasis on Canadian songwriters and choral composers.

We will also be singing Durme Durme. This is a beautiful song that we will be singing in Ladino (the Sephardic Jewish tongue). It was composed by Flory Jagoda who was a Bosnian Jewish musician who managed to escape to escape the Nazis and began a new life in the United States. She was a central figure in renewing interest in Sephardic music. Previously, we have sung her Chanukah song Ocho Kandelikas.  We are excited to explore more music by this talented composer who sadly passed away in 2021.

Another song that we are looking forward to singing is the sacred Christmas carol Gaudete.  It is believed to have been composed during the 16th century. This song has been adapted many times. In 1973, it was covered by the English folk band Steeleye Span and made it all the way up to number 14 on the pop charts. It’s fascinating to see how songs survive and evolve over the years. We are looking forward to singing this beautiful song.

Join Our Calgary Choir

We welcome new members to join our world music community choir. We rehearse from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm on Tuesdays at the Calgary Unitarians building. You are welcome to sit in on a session to see if our Calgary choir is the right fit for you. Contact us today to learn more! We are excited to have you join us now that our 2022-2023 season has begun.

A carol in latin – Gaudete

Second of the “What are we going to sing?” series:

Gaudete is a sacred Christmas carol, thought to have been composed in the 16th century. It’s a staple for choirs of course. But it was also an unlikely hit for an English folk band. Steeleye Span (with the great voice of Maddy Prior) recorded it and went to Number 14 on the pop charts with their version in 1973.

Here’s what that sounded like.

https://youtu.be/EDc2FD-vy8M

The King’s Singers recorded a more traditional version.

https://youtu.be/2KSxg9Ij5r8

I suspect our version will fall somewhere between the two. Even though it’s a sacred song, it’s sung with gusto, a bit like a tavern song.  It’s great fun to sing and will be part of our seasonal concert in December.

 

 

 

What will we sing? – Durme Durme

“What songs are we going to sing this season? ” is a question I get a lot. Choristers and audiences alike love the wonderful variety and quality of our repertoire.

Well, here’s a first preview (more to come in the next few weeks). Thanks to the artistic advisory committee for working on this.

Durme Durme is not the first song in Ladino (the Sephardic Jewish tongue) that we have sung. It’s also not the first song by Flory Jagoda. Jagoda, who died in 2021, was a Bosnian Jewish musician who escaped the Nazis and lived in the United States. She was a key figure in the revival of Sephardic music. Her Chanukah song, Ocho Kandelikas, is already in our repertoire. Now are are adding a beautiful lullaby, Durme Durme. Have a listen to this version.

Frank Rackow
Artistic Director

Summer 2022

Here’s hoping that the new 2022-23 choir season feels like a return to normal. Vocal Latitudes community choir in Calgary has been around since 2005 and we’ve seen and done a lot. But the pandemic was a whole new level of challenge for our choral community.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, we stopped rehearsing in person. After all, one of the first mass transmission events occurred at a choir rehearsal in Washington State. Moving online proved to be challenging.
We did continue to meet via Zoom, quickly realizing that we would have to change our way of doing things.

We did virtual performances, singalongs, shared videos, etc., but it was a long 18 months. Fortunately, the choir was able to begin singing together (masked) in September of 2021, using a hybrid format that allowed members to follow along from home via Zoom if they were ill or uncomfortable with singing in person. I was on sabbatical that autumn and the choir was led by one of Calgary’s most able singers and choral directors, Paul Grindlay.

I returned to the choir this past winter/spring and we performed our first live concert in over two years in May. What a joy that was!
What has kept us going was the sense of community that Vocal Latitudes prides itself on. We have always been a welcoming, friendly group. While we enjoy singing a wide range of music and always seek to improve our performances, we put an equal emphasis on having fun and being together in song.
But it’s also true that we saw our numbers shrink during the pandemic, understandably. Now we are looking forward to a renewed choir and a 2022-23 season full of fun, singing and performance opportunities.
For the fall session (we divide the year into two parts, singing different repertoires), I’m excited about a couple of brand new songs. Vocal Latitudes (as the name implies) have always been up for the challenge of singing in many languages. (We’ve lost count of the number). This fall we’ll sing in Ladino again with a lovely arrangement of a lullaby from Flory Jagoda,  Durme Durme. And we will sing a gorgeous song from Cuba in Spanish called Sigue. As well, there will be some seasonal and Christmas repertoire, a bit of jazz, pop, and South African song as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
And the winter/spring session will highlight the work of Canadian choral composers and songwriters.
And I’m delighted to announce that our long-time accompanist Faye White will be returning to the choir as well.
So, things are looking up. We will continue to exercise caution regarding public health, and we will continue to offer the option of participating in Vocal Latitudes via Zoom. We would love to have you join us.
We will start up on September 13, 2022, at 7:30 pm at Calgary Unitarians, 1703 1st St. NW, Calgary.
We’re a non-auditioned choir. You don’t need choral experience or to be able to read music. If you can carry a tune, we can teach you the rest. We invite you to join our Calgary community choir.
Frank Rackow
Artistic Director

Join Vocal Latitudes

Do you love to sing? Have you been considering joining a choir? Vocal Latitudes is a non-auditioned community choir in Calgary, Alberta. We sing a wide variety of world music. There are many different types of choral music from all around the world. We like to explore many different types of music such as African music, jazz, gospel, Finnish Christmas Carols, Latin chants, Broadway hits, Top 40 songs, Haitian Creole, Japanese poetry, etc. If you enjoy learning new types of music, then you should join Vocal Latitudes. We are the community choir Calgary loves!

New Members

We welcome all new members. You must be able to carry a tune (match pitch) and love to sing! Don’t stress if you can’t read music. Our helpful choristers will ensure that you can learn the music. We also have a Members Area on our website that contains audio files of the songs. This will help you to practice at home.

Rehearsals

Vocal Latitudes rehearses every Tuesday at 7:30 pm when we are in session. We have two terms per year. The first begins in September and ends in December. The second begins in January and ends in May. Our rehearsals are divided into sections. We have the main rehearsal, and we also have two to three additional rehearsals for every vocal section. This allows every vocal section to thoroughly learn its part.

Fees

Vocal Latitudes community choir is managed by the Vocal Latitudes Choir Society (VLCS). The VLCS is a registered non-profit organization that has a board of directors. Board members are elected annually and manage the choir. The rehearsals are run by the Artistic Director, Frank Rackow. The fees for the current season are $150 for a single term and $250 if you pay for both seasons. This also gives you a savings of $50.

What Next?

You are welcome to sit in on a session of a Vocal Latitudes rehearsal session before you commit to joining. Please contact us to let us know that you are coming. We are excited to have new members and to grow our choirs. We host major concerts at the end of every term. Vocal Latitudes also performs at seniors’ residences and by invitation at community events. Vocal Latitudes is the world music community choir Calgary loves! Join today!