Via Choralis, based on the Peninsula, will debut a new work composed by its artistic director. (Handout)

Local choir to sing new music for wintertime

Composer Nicholas Fairbank, who graduated high school in 1974, believes he was one of the last B.C. students to take a Grade 12 provincial exam in Latin. He has also sung in church choirs all his life, so he said he had a good sense of the rhythm of the language.

Fairbank, who is also artistic director of Via Choralis and the director of music at First Unitarian Church, has put this skill to use recently when composing the music for a new secular “vespers,” based on the ancient monastic rite sung each evening in monasteries and convents. The piece, called “Vesperae pro Serveto,” will debut on Sun. Nov. 26 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Sidney, with a second performance on Sun., Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church. It will be performed by Via Choralis and the Chalice Choir of the First Unitarian Church of Victoria, which have a combined number of about 75. They will be accompanied by an eight-piece musical ensemble.

The text is all new, and written by Rev. Frances Dearman, a Unitarian minister. Dearman’s text is based on the titles and themes of ancient texts, but is almost all original and inclusive of many faiths, which is part of the Unitarian belief. It is named for Michael Servetus, a Spanish theologian who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1553 and whose writings were formative for the Unitarian-Universalist church. Fairbank said his seven-movement work, which runs about 30 minutes, is “a calm, quiet affair,” which is meant to evoke a contemplative mood.

“Most of them are describing nature and what people would normally do in the evening — take the dog up for a walk in the hills, look at the sky, feed the children, put them to bed, but then there are scenes of nature as well and descriptions of the stars,” said Fairbank.

Fairbank acknowledged that Victoria is chock full of choral concerts this time of year, with Handel’s Messiah as one traditional example, but he’s hoping that people will attend this one “because it’s new and different.”

“The text is really central to the whole work, which is really what inspires the music,” said Fairbank.

Fairbank said that all the melodies and harmonies are also original, save for one theme in the first movement where he incorporated a melody from the Greek Orthodox liturgy, Phos Hilaron, which is translated as O Gladsome Light.

“People who think about other traditions this time of year, might think of the Winter Solstice. There is certainly some connection in the text to that, the shortest day of the year, the darkness and the cold. All of which I suppose have been incorporated into our Christmas traditions, sacred and secular all mixed together.”

Tickets are $18 at the door and $15 in advance. $5 student tickets are available at the door. Children under 12 are free. Advance tickets are available at Tanner’s Books, from choir members, and online at brownpapertickets.com/event/3098094



reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Minivan driver’s speed a factor in fatal 2018 Malahat crash

Driver was travelling at 110 km/h in a construction zone

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

Octopus art crawls into Colwood neighbourhood

Artist of knitted sleeves identifies herself on Instagram

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Most Read