Choir caravans through the centuries

Ensemble Laude presents Caravan Saturday, April 2 at St. Mary’s Church,

Ensemble Laude Women’s Choir rehearses for its performance in Oak Bay this Saturday

Ensemble Laude Women’s Choir rehearses for its performance in Oak Bay this Saturday

Ensemble Laude Women’s Choir rolls a caravan of music through St. Mary’s in its latest choral offering.

“We’re performing a program that’s really diverse. We’re going to be taking people on a journey through time,” said Carolyn Howe, associate conductor. “We’ve designed the program in an interesting way. The first half will be real lively and rhythmic a lot of culturally interesting pieces.”

Ensemble Laude’s Caravan will take listeners on a journey of discovery, with era­ sweeping melodies weaving a tapestry of music ranging from medieval and Celtic to African and modern Canadian songs.

The concert also features original songs from Victoria composers Nicholas Fairbank and Georgina Craig. “We’re presenting the entirety of our commissioned work,” Howe said.

The first half soars along with rhythm and excitement before shifting into a serene, meditative second half that includes Craig’s full Beyond the Violet piece and Fairbanks’ soothing Aurora.

“We’ve introduced a couple of the movements (of Beyond the Violet) at our Christmas concert but we’re introducing the full work,” Howe said of the work written by choir member and nationally recognized composer, Craig.

Fairbank’s Aurora is “a beautiful soundscape meant to reflect the aurora borealis,” she said. “He wrote it on an artists’ retreat on a boat in the arctic. When I hear it I think it sounds like the aurora.”

Other Canadian composers represented are Sarah Quartel, Mark Sirett and Stephen Hatfield. Signature favourites include Media Vita arranged by Michael McGlynn, Reel a Bouche by Malcolm Daglish and Warrior by Kim Baryluk.

“It just shows the diversity of the program,” Howe said. “It’s an incredible boom in Canadian choral composition right now. There are amazing composers working in the world. There are so many exciting things happening in Canadian choral composition right now; it’s great to be part of that.”

Now in its 18th year, Ensemble Laude is known for its a cappella performance and medieval repertoire. In June 2015, Ensemble Laude won second place in the national CBC Choral Competition, and is an invited guest to the 2016 international Choralies festival in France. Director Elizabeth MacIsaac has led choral ensembles for more than 25 years, in both Canada and France.

Ensemble Laude presents Caravan Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 1701 Elgin Rd. Tickets are $15 to $18 and free for children 12 and younger. For more information visit