Over his seven-year span as music director of the Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus, David Garber has developed a reputation for programming concerts to a specific genre.
“This time I wanted to find out about Celtic music,” said Garber, a former St. Albert music teacher. “When I researched it, I was quite surprised to learn that it was more than Ireland and Scotland. It encompassed six Celtic nations, including Wales, the Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany and Canada.”
The 120-member choir promotes our Celtic Connections on Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Myer Horowitz Centre in a one-hour concert of modern and traditional jigs, reels and ballads.
Although the choir specializes in singing a cappella, Garber has invited musicians Keri Lynn Zwicker (Celtic harp), Lizzy Hoyt (violin), Jeff Saragher (cello) and Nathan McCavana (bodhrĂˇn), to add some zesty musical and vocal accompaniment.
As members of the Edmonton-based Celtic Players, the four are regulars at Devane’s Irish Pub where Garber spotted them one evening over beer.
“They’re just phenomenal. They’re a world-class group. They play acoustic, high-energy music, but it never blasts you with high decibels and loud volume.”
To give a flavour of the different Celtic cultures, the concert will cover at least one song from every country.
From the Isle of Man, the chorus sings Cre raad t’ou goll, my chailli veg dhone? (Where are you going little brown girl?) in the language of Manx.
For the uninitiated the tune is a mouthful, but chorister Tom Mathews researched the language and taught the chorus the right pronunciation, Garber added.
From Cornwall, the chorus sings an a cappella version of The Oggie Man, a mournful song of lost love.
“When I heard the melody, I just loved it. It was so hauntingly beautiful. So sincere.”
In their salute to Brittany, the choir trots out Tri Martolod (Three Sailors), complete with bagpipes and bodhrĂˇn.
And from Canada, they’ll remount a couple of Rankin Family favourites – Fare Thee Well and Rise Again.
“The music is really varied and it speaks to the variety of human experience. It is very much connected to the human soul.”
Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus
Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m.
Myer Horowitz Theatre
Students Union Bldg.
University of Albert
8900 – 114 St.
Tickets: $6 to $15/advance; $10 to $20/door. Call 780-420-1757 or go online to: www.tixonthesquare.ca