During the Easter season, many people look to their church community for fellowship, a connection with the sacred and inspiring music. A concert tour launching in Regina on Wednesday will bring all of those elements together.
Father John Sembrat is a priest at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Vegreville, Alta., and he's also the composer of a new liturgical work that celebrates Easter and the resurrection.
"I can't stop writing music, so I had to do something," Sembrat said on CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend.
Sembrat said music and his Ukrainian heritage were very important in his family and parish growing up. When he heard Beethoven, he felt an instant connection to composing music.
"In the monastery, I began in the summer times, studying music," Sembrat explained.
But soon ministerial duties took over. Over the years, Sembrat continued to go back to composing and even brought music into his duties. While composing a three-part liturgy for students when he was stationed in Edmonton, Sembrat decided he would make it into a four-part harmony and a fully developed composition.
"I've never been able to tackle a large scale composition prior to that because of the interruptions with the pastoral duties that I have. It's been about three attempts," Sembrat said. "This time things changed and I figured, well maybe I could bring this to an end."
In 2014, Sembrat completed an Easter setting of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom for male voices. Last year, 51 professional and amateur choristers from across Canada and Ukraine recorded the composition.
"The vocal production from these guys is phenomenal and their knowledge of music is wonderful," Sembrat said.
He said watching 14 years of work come to life on the stage is amazing.
"I still can't believe it," he said.
The composition is being toured across Western Canada with the kickoff in Regina on March 30. There is also a stop in Saskatoon on April 4.
For more information visit the website.