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May 14, 2016 - The Elmer Iseler Singers and Briar Summers by Lee Boyes


What an amazing musical experience!! Saturday evening, May 14, the Gravenhurst Opera House was filled with voices of every kind of sound … all beautifully produced by the Elmer Iseler Singers and Briar Summers.

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The award-winning Elmer Iseler Singers, under the imaginative direction of Lydia Adams, and accompanied by pianist Shawn Grenke, opened their programme with four distinct songs. "I Will Sing Unto the Lord", by contemporary Canadian composer Imant Raminsh, and Shubert’s "Standchen", traditional melodic and harmonic selections, alternated with 'Alleluia", by American composer Eric Whiteacre, and Canadian composer Hussein Janmohamed’s "Nur: Reflections of Light", both showing the modernistic virtual and layered voices of musical imagery. Two rousing Negro Spirituals then centred "Amazing Grace' featuring Port Carling’s own Amy Dodington as the soloist. Again, the Singers showed their versatility with three non-traditional Celtic folk songs, by Irish composer Michael McGlynn, complete with characteristic droning, a novelty for Gravenhurst’s traditional choral audience members!! The listeners were then transported across the Irish Sea to hear five common and very beautifully arranged English folk
songs. We were ushered back to Canada, going coast to coast via two native characteristically atonal pieces, "Salish Song" (B.C.) and "Inuit Hunting Song", followed by Reta MacNeil’s "She’s Called Nova Scotia". The perfect closure selection to such a wonderful eclectic evening saw the Singers spread out through the aisles of the Opera House and give the listeners a positive and uplifting farewell with Canadian composer Tobin Stokes’ lively "Rejuvenation". Each of the nine vocalists who had solo parts throughout this programme is a top-notch professional singer in his/her own right, but, combined with all the other eleven singers, this group is truly a unified chorus of voices who sound as one by using their vocal control and artistry. True interpreters of every genre of music.


As has been done for the past few years, the MCA promotes young Muskoka talent, inviting them to open the evening’s professional entertainment.

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For this concert, it was a very gifted and delightful Briar Summers from Huntsville, a twelve-year-old pianist, singer, dancer, actress, and all-round protégé!She charmed and captivated the audience with her musicality, fun and stage presence, playing a couple of classical piano solos, and then singing/acting several songs primarily from Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz. A bright musical future looks inevitable for this young performer!

All photos for this review provided by:
Mark Clairmont
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MuskokaTODAILY Online News
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