Last night was the second annual fundraiser for St. Michael’s ICU in memory of Elizabeth Krehm. The work for the evening was Beethoven’s 9th symphony; an ambitious project for what amounts to a pick up orchestra and chorus with minimal rehearsal time. The orchestra, most competently conducted by Evan Mitchell did not disappoint. Ensemble was excellent and the sound at times thrilling. The choir sang with great enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment but the sound was a little “churchy” where something richer might have been preferred, though maybe in not in the resonant church acoustic. In any event that’s a nit in the overall scheme of things. The quartet of soloists was very good indeed. The guys get the exposed bits and both bass Jeremy Bowes and tenor Adrian Kramer sang out clearly and powerfully with excellent diction. The ladies too; soprano Rachel Krehm and alto Erin Lawson, clearly projected their lines over and through the orchestra and chorus. All in all it was most impressive and enjoyable. It was also well attended so hopefully the goal of raising lots of money for St. Mike’s was achieved.
The venue was the Metropolitan United Church; Canada’s “Methodist Cathedral” and the only one of the trio of “cathedrals” on Church Street that I had never been in. I was a bit surprised by how much like an Anglican cathedral it was. There was at least one side chapel and choir stalls and stained glass. Had it been built a few hundred years earlier it could easily have accommodated a rood screen. So, much “higher” than I might have expected. Cromwell’s troopers would not have approved and perhaps that’s my problem. My knowledge of non-conformist practice relies far more heavily on my knowledge of 16th and 17th century history than on contemporary reality.