Chez Nous: Christmas with Elektra (2017)

7:30 pm November 27th, 2017 at Dunbar Ryerson United Church

The name of this concert, Chez Nous: Christmas with Elektra, translates as “at our house” in French, an expression that is more than a place. “Chez nous” evokes a sense of welcome and warmth. We offer this concert annually, but it is always different. Unlike a theatre company that might mount the same play every Christmas, the combination of music that is sung in Chez Nous is never the same twice. My challenge is to give it the character and experience we want while also making it fresh. It needs to be satisfying/fresh/challenging to both the choir and the audience and, being by Elektra, excellence matters in the choice of music and the way it’s sung. After 31 years, Elektra has a library full of scores we’ve already sung, and we do draw on those but, to fulfill our mandate, I also want to introduce new compositions and arrangements. These are not just heard in the concert venue, but extend out through the Repertoire section of our website to be considered by other conductors around the world. We also record many of the new works, again, extending the impact and sometimes helping an emerging composer become noticed. I have all of these aspects in mind when putting together a Chez Nous program.

Several years ago, I wrote a list of words that I keep beside me when looking through music that might be included in Chez Nous. The paper is a bit shabby by now, but the words still ring true, reminding me of my goals; to make people feel welcome, to connect them to familiar music, to move them, to surprise them with something new, and to offer even those who have never heard Elektra before a sense of the music we present, and what they might expect from us at other concerts in the year. I know there are people in the audience who don’t expect to like a choral concert (bless them for being there!), so I want them to find it more than entertaining, to be glad they came, and glad they invested their time with us, with the rest of the audience, and with the music. My list? Welcome, Joy, Beauty, Participation, Robust, Sombre Reflection, Surprise, Memory, Relevance.”

with Vivian Chen, harp
and with the West Vancouver School District Women’s Honour Choir, Suzanne Fulton, ArtisticDirector, Hey-Jung Choi, piano

For their solo set, the West Vancouver SDHC performed A Carol Tapestry, arr. Mary Lynn Lightfoot; La Mia Stella Stella by Ivo Antognini; A Blessing by Katie Bart.

Chez Nous 2017 Program

Chez Nous 2017 Listener’s Guide

Performance Pieces:

  1. Carol Trilogy for women’s choir and piano Canadian Composition Laura Hawley (arr) 
  2. Hodie Christus Natus Est Canadian CompositionKelly-Marie Murphy
  3. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear Canadian CompositionRichard Storrs Willis Susan Edwards (arr) 
  4. Ceremony of Carols, ABenjamin Britten
  5. Carol for the Animals Canadian CompositionPatrick Wedd
  6. Noël Nouvelet Canadian CompositionTraditional French Erica Phare-Bergh (arr) 
  7. Silent NightFranz Gruber Winnie Brückner (arr) 

Canadian Composition Legend Canadian Composition