A Journey Home
St. Albert Singers Guild
Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19
5 St. Anne Street
Tickets: $20 general seating Call 780-418-4184 or email email@example.com
Singing fuels the soul. While most of us were moaning about our long cold winter, the St. Albert Singers Guild stayed toasty warm rehearsing for a concert with a summer-styled theme.
With a whiff of spring in the air, A Journey Home isn’t coming fast enough. Throughout the concert, the 78 singers invite the audience to trek throughout Canada on a summer roadtrip.
The scripted narrative follows the lives of two sisters living on opposite parts of the country returning to Alberta for an all-out family reunion. One sister lives in Vancouver, the other in Ontario.
“The sisters stopped talking over the years. As adults they’ve moved to being more competitive and as the distance grew, so did their relationship. But the journey to St. Albert is a journey of rediscovery and by the time they meet, they discover what their relationship could have been,” said artistic director Criselda Mireau.
Mierau and her daughter Katia co-wrote the narratives. Each storyteller penned the background for one of the families and they blended the two.
Katia’s Ontario-based family includes a divorced mother, her grown son and a couple of grandparents in tow. Mierau’s Vancouver pack is a foursome with a married couple and two daughters.
“It’s simple, a little story people will find touching and heart-warming. And it gives the choir an opportunity to sing all kinds of Canadiana and other little gems.”
In a sneak peek at the program, one of those gems is The Royal Hudson, named after the CPR royal train that transported the late King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother) across Canada in 1939.
“This song is part of our love affair with trains and locomotives. It captures the feel of a train within the music and tells the story of trains. It has clever lyrics and it has clever music that makes you feel as if you are really on a train.”
As the choir sings, images of Craigellachie, a mountainous region several kilometres between Sicamous and Revelstoke flash on a screen. It is famous for being the site where the last spike was driven into the ground.
In another piece, Mierau has borrowed music from Oklahoma and rewritten the lyrics for Oh Alberta.
“In this one, we have fun talking about oil and how everyone meets at West Edmonton Mall and how there’s cowboy boots everywhere.”
One of the first memory songs Mierau selected was composer Don MacDonald’s The Piano accompanied by wonderful poetry from D.H. Lawrence’s catalogue.
“When the Ontario family drives across the prairies, they are struck by all the old homesteads that are now crumbling. The grandfather remembers how when he was a boy they had a piano in their parlour.”
Of course, a narrative about sisters would not be complete without Irving Berlin’s chart-topping Sisters, originally composed for White Christmas.
“We live in a world full of dysfunction and distance. We need to keep finding hope and this is a story about coming together. Bonus – it gets you ready for a summer roadtrip.”