Almost everyone agrees that Canada became a country 150 years ago because the railway made it accessible from the east to the west.
Perhaps Gordon Lightfoot said it best in his various railway songs, and on Friday and Saturday, Counterpoint Choir will present their take on Canada 150, with Lightfoot’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy as a centerpiece. It provides a nutshell history of Canada — in 1,200 words or less. A visual show will play alongside the music, of all Canadian images, taken mostly by Alex and Devon Muhlert on their cross-country travels.
The other songs are also written by Canadian composers, like Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne. Included also is local composer Imant Raminsh’s Sunset, an arrangement of a Canadian Cowboy’s Lament, a slightly tongue-in-cheek version of the “dying cowboy” genre. There is a native chant called the Mi’kmaq Honour Song, arranged by Lydia Adams of Toronto’s Amadeus Choir fame. It is a magical rendering of deep forest sounds and a dream-like sequence of close harmonies hummed under the authentic Mi’kmaq chant.
From the east coast, Rita McNeil’s music makes an appearance in Home I’ll Be, while Something to Sing About, an old favourite by Oscar Brand, covers the whole country. All the Little Rivers is one by Larry Nickel, a west coast composer, also accompanied by visuals from across Canada. Vancouver’s Brian Tate contributed We Are One, and We Rise Again is by Leon Dubinsky. Another local composer, Devon L. Muhlert, also explores Canada’s rail history through the eyes of a granddaughter, with Roll On, Ride them Rails.
The complete program is an inspiring one, celebrating the commonalities of a divergent people — a people that have always come together in their abiding love for Canada.
Counterpoint Choir will be joined by special guests Heather Harker on vocals, Kerry Parks on guitar and Alisah Johnson on violin.
Counterpoint Choir performs May 5 at 7:30 p.m. and May 6 at 2 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, 3701-32nd Ave., Vernon. Tickets are $12, kids under 12 are free, available at Shear Dimensions, from choir members or at the door.