Categories: Entertainment

Concordia musters 150 voices for concert

Age isn’t holding Hans-Jurgen Kirstein, 80, from fulfilling his passionate love affair with choral music.

The St. Albert octogenarian is a singer with Concordia University College’s choirs whose lush voices will be heard at Welcome to our Wondering Sight tomorrow afternoon at First Presbyterian Church in Edmonton.

The German-born Kirstein moved to St. Albert from Grande Cache about five years ago. Before retiring he was a program manager for Correctional Service of Canada.

But his love of music was inherited from his father. “My dad was an organist and choir master at a Lutheran church. I didn’t inherit his talent, but I inherited his love of music,” says Kirstein. “There’s just something about choral music that touches a part of your soul.”

After moving to the city, a friend recommended joining the Concordia Community Chorus. “You don’t need to audition for this choir. I could not have survived an audition,” he laughs with experienced practicality.

Today he is a member of the Concordia Community Chorus and Mäennerchor, a newly formed men’s choir. Both choirs, as well as the Concordia Concert Choir, Concordia High School Choir and Bella Voce, a women’s choir, will serve up a largely faith-based repertoire.

Special guests include harpist Keri Zwicker, oboist Shelly Foster, tenor/double bassist Josh McHan and soprano Debbie Rice. Leading the choirs are Dr. Joy Berg, Dr. John Brough and Jordan Van Biert. Accompanying this massive extravaganza is Rev. Lorne Manweiler.

The choirs’ 150 voices accompanied by harp and oboe sing the concert centrepiece Welcome to Our Wondering Sight by American composer Bradley Ellingboe. Sung in six parts, it is the Canadian premiere of this newly minted work. “He has different writers from Longfellow to Alcuin of York to Hans Brorson, a Norwegian writer and Richard Croshar. And there’s the modern day Grasha Grindal. He talks about Christ’s coming and what it means to the world,” explains Berg, the concert’s primary organizer.

All the choirs also sing Long Before Time, a Canadian hymn composed by Peter Davison. “It goes back and forth between solos and unison choir. It really lifts up the spirit.”

On its own, Mäennerchor sings the 14th century Good Christians All Rejoice. “I like the antique stuff,” Kirstein says. “There’s big round notes and I’m a bit of an antiquarian.”

Berg is excited about the great wall of sound the choirs will produce. “They can be vibrant or soft and the First Presbyterian Church is a lovely place to sing.”

The concert starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at 780-420-1757 or online at www.tixonthesquare.ca.


Welcome to our Wondering Sight
Concordia University College Choirs
Sunday, Nov. 28 at 3 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church
10025 – 105 St.
Tickets: $10 to $12. Call 780-420-1757 or purchase online at www.tixonthesquare.ca

Anna Borowiecki: Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.