I'll never forget how friendly Ms. (Maureen) Forrester was and especially, her infectious laugh.
—Judy Low, chorister
Nearly a century ago, the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir was formed. Now Western Canada's longest-established adult choral group, it has a well-earned reputation for excellence.
This season the choir celebrates 90 years of singing. On December 16, Yuri Klaz will lead the group, with special guests soprano Tracy Dahl, organist Donald Menzies, the Henry G. Izatt School Chorus and Andrea Ratuski.
SCENE invited some of the longstanding choristers to share their favorite memories.
Keith Black (Bramwell Ryan)
: After 37 years in the Phil, picking out the most
memorable concert is difficult. There have been some
amazing Requiems, symphonies like Mahler No. 2, and great
I remember a hugely moving concert a few years ago almost totally in
Russian that was phenomenal both musically and as a tribute to artistic director Yuri Klaz's
And, of course, singing at Carnegie Hall and in the plaza of the United
Nations in New York was unforgettable. Choral singing has been a major
part of my life, and the opportunity to sing in the Phil has been an
Judy Low (Wpg Phil)
: After joining the Phil in 1970, one of my first concerts was Handel's Messiah
. It was the first of many thrills I've had over the past 42 years!
We've sung with great artists like Maureen Forrester, Lois Marshall, The Irish Rovers, Harry Belafonte and Mitch Miller. I'll never forget how friendly Ms. Forrester was and especially, her infectious laugh.
Favourite works include Verdi's Requiem
, Bach's B Minor Mass
, Beethoven's 9th
, Orff's Carmina Burana
, and the Mahler symphonies.
We've also traveled to sing: Vancouver for Expo 86; Toronto for the Canadian Choral Festival and, perhaps, the most exciting: NYC's Carnegie Hall in 1995. Unforgettable! It's indeed been a privilege to sing beautiful music with this wonderful organization.
Rick MacLowick (Bramwell Ryan)
: I joined the Phil shortly after moving here from Ottawa in January 1974 and, that May, my first performance was Beethoven's 9th. Since then, over 39 seasons, I've sung in 150+ concerts.
My top highlight was Mahler's Second Symphony
with the WSO under Kazuhiro Koizumi in April 1986--truly magical! Augmented by the University Singers we were a huge chorus, but the maestro inspired us to produce the most beautiful hushed moments as well as searing high points. Our soloists, Geraldine Patterson and Janice Taylor, produced inspired performances. I'm not the only chorister who referred to having a religious experience that night!The Winnipeg Philharmonic Holiday Memories Concert on Sunday December 16 at 3 p.m. at Westminster United Church is sold out. Listen to CBC Radio for chances to win tickets.