TWU’s touring choir gives homecoming performance

On the heels of a successful tour from Parliament Hill to Carnegie Hall, the choirs of Trinity Western University present Sacred Space, a pair of concerts in Surrey and Abbotsford on March 18 and 19. They will perform with the student and community orchestra of TWU’s School of the Arts, Media + Culture (SAMC). With music ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary Canadian works, Sacred Space was conceived as a meditative and meaningful preparation for Easter.

“It’s a diverse and inclusive program, as sacred space conjures up different images for different people,” says conductor Joel Tranquilla, the Director of Choral Activities at SAMC. “Some of the music evokes the grandeur of a cathedral; other pieces capture the intimacy of prayer and reflection. The evening culminates in a major work with the orchestra, an oratorio narrating the Passion of Christ.”

Distinguished soprano Alison Nystrom, a voice instructor at TWU, is the featured soloist in this award-winning oratorio by Toronto-based composer Allan Bevan. Other highlights include Healey Willan’s meditative “Behold the Tabernacle of God,” a peaceful German setting of Psalm 84 by Brahms, and a bright and celebratory setting of Psalm 150 by William Byrd, the foremost composer of the English Renaissance.

A conductor noted for his creative programming, arts advocacy, and collaboration with Canadian composers, Tranquilla also chose to premiere new works by Vancouver’s Kathleen Allan and Abbotsford’s David Squires. “Kathleen is in demand as a conductor and performer, and her compositions have been performed and recorded around the world,” says Tranquilla. “It’s been an honour to collaborate with her. This new piece is called ‘The Singing Shepherd,’ which we commissioned her to write for our choirs.”

The evening’s second premiere is “Sanctuary” by David Squires, who teaches composition at TWU and is the Dean of SAMC. He wrote the piece while on a creative retreat with his wife, basing it on her favourite texts from Psalm 73. In the music’s dramatic arc, entering the sanctuary of God is the turning point in a journey from loneliness and despair to comfort and assurance.

Don’t miss Sacred Space, sponsored by Long & McQuade, on March 18 at Fleetwood Christian Reformed Church in Surrey, and March 19 at Bakerview Church in Abbotsford. Both concerts start at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit twu.ca/samc or phone 604.513.2173.

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