Volume 95, Issue 72

Friday, February 8, 2002

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Spicy pad Thai heats up the downtown core

InterVarsity Choral Festival prepares to hit the high note

Disc of the Week

This is Bad Taste, no literally - it sucks

Hoobastank crawls into sickly sweet pop

Boys cry, too, y'know

InterVarsity Choral Festival prepares to hit the high note

By Christina McKenzie
Gazette Staff

How many Western students does it take to drown out the sounds of police, fire and ambulance sirens rushing down Richmond Street?

Try 60.

That is the number of people involved in the UWO Choir who, at a rehearsal last Tuesday, overwhelmed the outside noise while preparing for this weekend's InterVarsity Choral Festival.

Western will host this year's Choral Festival on Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Dundas United Church.

"What initially began as a competition 53 years ago has, in recent times, morphed into a sheer celebration of music," said UWO Choir VP-internal Jesse Husk.

In 1949, Western was among the original participants in the IVCF. The school still takes part enthusiastically in the festival, along with choral ensembles from McMaster, Queen's, Trent, the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto's Hart House, he said.

Husk, a fourth-year psychology student, has been working closely with Liam Birch and Dionne Dornford, the chief organizers of the event, as well as with UWO Choir president Alessandra Trapani.

Husk is also an active member of the choir that, contrary to assumptions, consists of more than students from the faculty of music.

"Although the choir predominantly consists of [music] students, it is for anyone who likes to sing for leisure. In the choir are students in science, engineering and there are even a few staff members," he said.

Organizer Liam Birch has been with the choir for seven years and said the diversity of its members is largely responsible for the choir's success.

"The best thing about the choir is that the members don't have any expectations, which leaves people free to put in what they are comfortable with and do what they want to do sing," he said.

Alessandra Trapani also noted the dynamic of the choir. "Because we are from different faculties, we are a very social group with a common interest in music, who also have a lot of fun."

She stressed the importance of members assisting and coaching each other and described the atmosphere of the choir as "very positive."

With Western hosting the festival, the choir is energized to "show [the public and Ontario student bodies] what we've got," Birch said.

Dionne Dornford, the UWO Choir chair, said the IVCF serves a number of purposes. "The [festival] allows our choir to venture out into the community in order to broadcast its talents to others."

As director of the choir, Paul Williams will be making a guest appearance during the performance as the conductor for the mass selection. The repertoire chosen for the Choral Festival is mostly from classical collections.

The mass piece, John Taverner's "Two Hymns to the Mother of God," will be sung in unison by the 200 voices of the participating choirs as the Festival's finale.

The UWO Choir also performs during the Christmas season and in early spring, as well as casual performances at the locations of sponsors, such as the Fanshawe Market Loblaws and Chapters.

On behalf of the choir members, Husk described the Festival as a weekend of "choral enrichment" and an opportunity for London's public to indulge in the vocal resonance of the UWO Choir.

The InterVarsity Choral Festival takes place on Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Dundas United Church. Admission is free.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002