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The new season of the Richard Eaton Singers will be the last for conductor Leonard Ratzlaff

Ratzlaff’s last lap, which has led the famous choir group for 40 years, begins Saturday with a concert celebrating the music of British composer Vaughan Williams on his 150th birthday.

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It’s hard to find a suitable gift for a British composer who recently turned 150, but Richard Eaton Singers choirmaster Leonard Ratzlaff thinks he may have come up with something.

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That’s a surprise, so don’t tell Vaughan Williams a century and a half ago.But the local choir, joining forces with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and a few other friends, is completely dedicated to his music. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Williams!

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“In fact, we have performed many of his works over the years, and I feel it is an important time to not only bring together some of the works we have done in the past, but also add new ones. “We had a lot of fun,” says Ratzlaff. “It was really fun putting this together.”

Richard Eaton Singers has a long history with Williams. As Ratzlaff points out, they performed five mystical songs with acclaimed baritone Kevin McMillan many years ago and tackled the Donna Nobis Pasem, a prayer for peace, nearly That was exactly 30 years ago, and Ratzlaff remembers the latter making a big impression on audiences because it performed so close to Remembrance Day.

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“I’ve had some singers actually ask if I can do it again,” he says. “It really meant a lot to them, so it felt especially notable during this time.”

Sandwiched between Five Mystical Songs and Dona Nobis Pacem was Benedicite, which the group added quite late in the process.

“This is the arrangement of the hymn Williams was invited to perform at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation,” he reveals. “We decided to add it as a kind of acknowledgment of that event some six weeks after her death. But the really influential work is Donna Nobis Pasem.” This is reflected through his understanding of poetry, his perception of the impact of literary commentary on war and peace, and the poetry of Walt Whitman, which he uses so extensively in his work. I have.”

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The music of Vaughan Williams would mark the beginning of Ratzlaff’s retirement rap as he left the post after taking over from Larry Cook in 1981. He will also stand on the podium for his two performances of Handel’s Messiah on December 9 and He on March 10, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah on March 31. Both take place at Winspear and conclude with a concert at McDougal United Church on June 10th. A fulfilling gig filled with artistic successes, international concerts and recordings, Ratzlaff has more than a few memories of his performances over the years.

“All of Bach’s major oratorios could be conducted here: the Christmas Oratorio, the St. John Passion, the St. Matthew Passion, and of course the Mass in B Minor,” says Ratzlaff. From 1982 he was a member of Alberta Madrigal He Singers until 2019. But perhaps one of his great experiences that I recall was in 2000 Benjamin He had the opportunity to direct Britain’s War Requiem. “

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During his time here, Ratzlaff has seen the choral music program strengthened with the hiring of a second professor, Dr. Deborah Cairns, and the establishment of a graduate program in choral conducting. He estimates that about 60 of his students have graduated from the program, many of whom are still working in the state. This makes Edmonton the home of choral music.

“We were actually the first Canadian university to conduct both masters and doctoral programs. he points out. “I have to leave a lot of credit to my college colleagues and upper management who were supportive of what we were trying to do. ”

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Richard Eaton Singers and conductor Leonard Ratzlaff, who will retire after the 2022/23 season.
Richard Eaton Singers and conductor Leonard Ratzlaff, who will retire after the 2022/23 season. Photo by Richard Eaton Singers /File

Born in Alberta, Ratzlaff spent years out of state before being hired as a professor of choral music at the University of Alabama. He was originally from just outside the Three Hills, British He grew up in the Abbotsford area of ​​Columbia, then a Canadian in Winnipeg He’s a Mennonite He studied music in college. Ratzlaff spent 12 years in the capital city of Winnipeg, immersed in Anglican, Ukrainian and Mennonite choral traditions before moving to the University of Iowa for his graduate studies and then to Edmonton.

“This business of making music together is a very satisfying experience from every angle,” he thinks. “I think singers who participate in choirs will universally agree that it is a very uplifting experience. There’s been a lot of research done on things, I don’t know if there was an end goal to do all this, it just happened to be something I wanted to do, but I didn’t realize it was such a work experience I didn’t think so.”

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Ratzlaff may retire, but it won’t go away. He plans to travel and possibly write more about music. And even though he won’t lead the front lines, he still sings.

“I’ve been in numerous choirs over the years in this state,” he says. “My college successor, Timothy Schantz, has a great choir from Calgary that I sang with, as well as Pro Collo Canada and Michael Zaug. keeps going.”



Music by Vaughan Williams

When Richard Eaton Singers, Jolene Curry, Roderick Bryce, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

when Saturday, November 12, 7:30 p.m.

Where Winspear Centre, 4 Sir Winston Churchill Sq.

tickets From $32 At winspearcentre.com Or Door

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The new season of the Richard Eaton Singers will be the last for conductor Leonard Ratzlaff

Source link The new season of the Richard Eaton Singers will be the last for conductor Leonard Ratzlaff

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