April 16, 2017

Toronto Children's Chorus Concert

Grand us Thy peace, Almighty Lord, O Source of every blessing!
We cannot keep Thy saving Word unless Thy peace possessing.
Thy peace O give by which we live.
                            Verleih uns Frieden Felix Mendelssohn, text by Martin Luther German composer, professor, priest 

Early April Saturday afternoon, the warm, sunny weather heralded the long-awaited beginning of spring and the atmosphere inside of the venerable church was much the same. A man was tuning the grand piano while guests were gathering to hear Toronto Children's Chorus' seasonal concert called "Reflections". The sunbeams piercing through the stained glass windows filled up the Rosedale church with divine light and calmness. Sitting in anticipation, one immediately felt the spirit within himself and the hope that was in the air. And here they came. The excited faces of those beautiful young singers of one of the finest treble choirs in the world, ready to blend their voices in their challenging repertoire of songs of hope and peace. Songs we would all celebrate the arrival of spring with.   
From the first traditional Inuit song Arctic Lights telling the story of a lost hunter, (by throat singing, dancing and drumming) through George Frederick Handel's love song between Radomisto and his wife Zenobia and Debussy's Nuit d'Etoiles to the opening number of the musical Chicago All That Jazz, these talented children demonstrated excellent vocal techniques, discipline and passion about the choral art. The choir also uplifted us, the audience, with songs by Canadian composer Jeff Enns, Wehi Whanaus of New Zealand and Romanian-born Hungarian Levente Gyongyosi. Conducted by the Artistic Director Elise Bradley and the Associate Conductor Matthew Otto, the children were accompanied by guest musicians from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
While I listened with delight how these kids poured out their hearts in perfect harmony, I reflected on the fact that the confused and divided world we live in right now perhaps is missing exactly that – humans – being in harmony, with nature, with each other, with themselves. More of the things that we all desperately need nowadays can absolutely be found in music. Peace, comfort, spirituality, humans connection – that is what music gives to people. And no doubt, that choral music has been one of the supreme examples of that. When one person sings, he or she expresses the human soul in the song. However, being part of a group and singing together with others requires not only skills in singing, but personal characteristics such as responsibility, dedication, cooperation and effective teamwork.
I recognized the importance of music this Saturday afternoon once again. I saw the proof of the incredible benefits that music education brings to kids' lives. Rhythm, harmony, melody, modulation, tone quality cannot be learnt without structure and standards. They must be skillfully taught by knowledgeable, dedicated pedagogists. Children thrive on the gentle and joyous discipline of music and rhythm. Their self-awareness and confidence rise as they understand what it means to be a contributing member of your group, family, community.
This joyous spring concert with the name "Reflections" made me think of the fact that there is no better promoter of peace, beauty and harmony than music. And music indeed has the power to save the world as many prominent musicians and wise minds thought so. Perhaps not just music itself but rather these young people, our offspring, who through music and music education are becoming happy, smart, grateful, emotionally healthy and competent citizens of our planet, ready to make the world a better place. In the words of philosopher Confucius, who apparently was also an astounding musician "When music and courtesy are better understood and appreciated, there will be no war."

The next concert of these young choral ambassadors, who have been representing Toronto and Canada all over the world, is on May 6, 2017 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. If you have a chance, please, go and give your support to them and their passionate teachers.

To learn more about Toronto Children's Chorus, visit their website here.

If you are a parent, guardian, or a relative who wants your child to become a part of such an internationally recognized organization, TCC spring audition registration is open for the 40th anniversary season. They are generous enough to offer a free audition for the readers of Sylvia's Simple Life – simply follow the link Register your child for FREE audition to the Toronto Children's Chorus and use the coupon code "SSLTCC" for an audition on either Saturday, May 13 or Saturday, May 27. Limited free auditions are available. 

P. S. To all of you who celebrate Easter, I wish you a joyous and meaningful celebration of life, love, healing and peace.

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