I had a wonderful time working with the talented and enthusiastic singers at the Claude Watson School for the Arts in North York. I was invited by Alan Torok, internationally acclaimed composer and classical guitarist, and Claude Watson’s Music Department Head, and Dr. Timothy Sullivan, vocal music teacher for the school. I have wonderful memories of premiering in the mid-1990s in London, Ontario, a suite of carols brilliantly arranged by Alan Torok. Timothy Sullivan is well-known for his opera, Florence: The Lady With the Lamp, and more recently, for two song cycles: A Magic Casement (soprano, mezzo-soprano, and two pianos) and A Soft and Golden Fire (voice, flute, and harp).
We had a session about voice registers for male and female singers, and explored some movements of the Mozart Requiem. These singers have wonderful voices, fascinating insights, and tremendous curiosity. Mozart’s masterwork will amaze them as they get ever deeper into all it has to say to them and within them!
The grade 9-10 vocal music class was a singing feast! The students’ favourite section of the Mozart Requiem at this point is the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath). We discussed its text as well as that of the work’s opening section: “Requiem eternam…” “Eternal rest…”. For the second part of our session we had a mini-masterclass. I had the privilege of hearing Curtis, a countertenor, Julia, a soprano, and Tony, a baritone. We worked on performance skills and the differences between singing and performing. Exciting voices! Ben, a young collaborative pianist in the class was outstanding in his performance with Curtis of Darius Milhaud’s Poèmes Juifs, “Chanson d’Amour.”