When a good friend organizes a fundraiser for a church, you donate your skills. In the case of Robert King, he volunteers his voice.
The St. Albert tenor, who took a bit of a sabbatical from the music scene, is back in full form and will perform at Resound, a dinner concert this Sunday celebrating the 110-year-old Trinity Lutheran Church in Old Strathcona.
An old colleague, Jordan Van Biert, is the church’s director of music and has organized the benefit concert to raise funds for new wood flooring.
King has blended his vocals with some of the area’s most lauded groups: DaCamera Singers, Pro Coro and Alberta Baroque Ensemble. And some of the concerts most dear to his heart have been sung in old churches.
“We don’t have many old buildings left. And after singing in Europe in buildings that are 600 to 1,000 years old, I am looking forward to singing in a 110-year-old building,” says King.
“I’d rather see us preserve rather than tear it down. From a historical point of view, it’s important to preserve our heritage, whether it’s a church, a synagogue or a mosque. It doesn’t matter. We need to step up to the plate.”
King performs Du bist vie eine blume, a short classical love song from Robert Schumann, his idyllic composer.
“Schumann is one of my favourite lieder composers. Just the care with which he has chosen the music to reflect the words and mood of the music is incredible. Not all composers hit the mark, but Schumann was a master.”
Another guest soloist, soprano Janet Smith will sing Die Forelli (The Trout), a whimsical piece about a fish.
And a pickup group from various ensembles throughout Edmonton will sing the 20-minute Zigeunerlieder (Gypsy).
“The concert is German themed, but it’s all playful and quite light and good,” says Van Biert, the concert’s driving force.
He explains that the church’s tattered 35-year-old carpet is dampening the acoustics.
“We want to take it out and put in hardwood which is better for the acoustics. Many people I know in the music community are looking for new spaces and this is a very hospitable space.”
The initial cost was tagged at $300,000. However, volunteers will do much of the renovation to whittle down the cost to $35,000.
“We already have $30,000 and this concert could put us over the top.”
The concert is Sunday at 8 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran, 10014 – 81 Ave. Tickets are $50 with a $30 tax receipt. Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the concert at 8 p.m. Call 780-420-1757 or purchase online: www.tixonthesquare.ca.