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Choristers Chor Leoni and harpsichordist Luc Beausejour

by Anne Bergstrom and Isabelle Gallant

A slice of Chor Leoni, renowned male choir from Vancouver

This summer's Indian River Festival will feature a return visit on July 3 by the renowned all-male choir, Chor Leoni, directed by Diane Loomer. These Vancouver-based singers were finalists in this year's European Broadcasting Union's "Let the People Sing" International Choral Competition, and triple winners in last year's CBC Radio National Competition for Amateur Choirs.

Their program will highlight works by Canadian composers and arrangers, some with an Atlantic connection, others with Vancouver composers or arrangers. Canadian selections will include Away From the Roll of the Sea by Cape Bretoner Allister MacGillivray, arranged by Diane Loomer; We'll Rant, We'll Roar, arranged by Willi Zwozdesky; Ubi Caritas by Ramona Leungen; Jing-ga lye-a by Bruce Sled; and two Stan Rogers songs, Make and Break Harbour and The Mary Ellen Carter. International composers include Sandstöm, Nikolsky, Tchaikovsky, Sheremetev, Tormis, Schubert and Poulenc. And more!

Chor Leoni is known for its rich, smooth sound and its appealing choral personality. If you have listened to them on Jürgen Gothe's program Disc Drive on CBC (the show originates in Vancouver and he likes to feature West Coast talent), there is another dimension to a live performance. These fellows are not a "stand in a row and sing" type of ensemble. Choreography and changing formations will be part of the presentation.

The group previously appeared at Indian River in 1997, and members were charmed both by the acoustics and by the audience of Jersey cows which gathered at the fence across the road when they rehearsed with the church doors open. Second tenor Bruce Hoffman recounts that the cows "didn't cough once"!

Another concert to look forward to at the festival during July is the appearance of harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour on Sunday the 13th. Beauséjour, hailing from Montréal, has appeared in recital across North America and Europe, and at several festivals, including the Lanaudière International Festival and the Lamèque Early Music Festival. He has recorded 15 CDs, many of which have been critically acclaimed across the globe. Beauséjour holds a doctorate from the Université de Montréal, and has studied under harpsichord masters such as Ton Koopman and Mireille Lagacé. He currently teaches harpsichord and organ in Montréal.

Beauséjour continues to present great works for solo harpsichord, as he will in his performance at Indian River. The entire program consists of music written between the late 1500s and the early-to mid 1700s, which covers the end of the Renaissance era and the entire Baroque era; it was during these years that the harpsichord knew its heyday. Beauséjour will play J.S. Bach's French Suite in G major and Jean-Philippe Rameau's Suite in E, as well as two Scarlatti sonatas and two pieces by François Couperin. The program also features music by the lesser-known composers Sweelinck, Froberger and Forqueray.

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