The Light of Hope Returning

7:30pm November 26th, 2021 at Pacific Spirit United Church

We are delighted to see you here tonight as we share a very special project with you. The Light of Hope Returning is a remarkable and unique experience for performer and audience, a 75-minute journey at a dark time of year through familiar and new music, visual art, the voices of women, beauty, community, reflection, and discovery.  This is the work’s Canadian premiere, and the first time ever the visual element is being shared with a live audience.
In June 2020, shortly after the pandemic shut down all live choral music, I was approached by Ofer dal Lal, Artistic Director of WomenSing in the Bay Area, to collaborate on a large-scale virtual choir project to record this entire work, which had been commissioned and premiered by WomenSing the previous year. We contacted composer Shawn Kirchner, who immediately became an energetic force behind this idea.  The extraordinary artwork that you will see projected is by Syrian-American artist, Kevork Mourad (, who is well-known for his collaborations with classical musicians including Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad. Together, we began a six-month journey to the video’s launch, on the Winter Solstice 2020.  The final piece of the puzzle came in the voice and musical gifts of form of dear Elektra friend, Nelson-based singer Allison Girvan, also with us tonight for the live performance. Look on on December 21 as we bring back the online version for a few weeks over the holidays.
The Light of Hope Returning is a continuous work, so please hold your applause until the intermission and the end of the concert. I encourage you to read composer Shawn Kirchner’s comments on the next page. Each piece of music, part of the larger whole, was carefully curated to create the story arc that you will experience. In some cases, such as Remember and Holy World, they are new creations. Others, such as Bright Morning Stars and Angels We Have Heard on High, bring with them memories of times and traditions past. Each musical element forms part of the story arc of this journey toward hope.
I am indebted to all of my singers and Stephen Smith for their tenacity through 18 months without in-person rehearsals. To see their faces in person again in September and to hear their voices together in this glorious acoustic is such a joy. The Elektra board has steered our organization safely through these tough times, and I am grateful for the immense amount of work they continue to do to steward us with care and commitment. Special thanks for thoughtful work on tonight’s project go to Shawn, Kevork, Shannon, Danica, Allison, James, and all singers who do far more for us than sing.
Appreciating choir like never before,
Concert program: TLOHR program Vcr 2021

Performance Pieces:

  1. Light of Hope Returning, The Shawn Kirchner

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