This Thirsty Land: CMU Festival Chorus and Mennonite Community Orchestra in performance
Featuring work by Dvorak, Vaughan Williams, and JUNO-nominated composer/conductor Leonard Enns, This Thirsty Land is a musical reaffirmation of Resurrection gospel for uncertain times.
On Saturday November 2, the newly formed CMU Festival Chorus and resident Mennonite Community Orchestra will join forces, along with student and faculty soloists, to present This Thirsty Land, a bill of masterworks reanimated for the present moment.
Directed by CMU's Janet Brenneman (PhD), and grafted into the roots of the former Mennonite Festival Chorus, the CMU Festival Chorus brings together three distinct ensembles under the university umbrella, comprising current students, alumni, and community members. Still in its inaugural season, the choir has already worked with several distinguished WSO directors, performing definitive repertoire by Mozart, Britten, Handel, Beethoven, Verdi, Mahler, Schoenberg, Silvestrov, and Pärt.
This Thirsty Land is a concert in the pascal spirit, contemplative of Jesus' resurrection and its breathtaking implications for human-kind—both in terms of the fresh potential, and the weighty obligations, it confers. The evening is named after Leonard Enns' 2018 choral piece, draws attention to water as a rising conflict resource in need of urgent, ethical protection. Enns' music will be one of three feature performances, along side Vaughan Williams' "Easter" from Five Mystic Songs, and Antonin Dvorak's classic New World Symphony.
In Williams's "Easter," the singer reflects on the marvel of Christ's passion, and exhorts himself as a music-maker somehow to channel that world-breaking level grace into his music: Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part with all thy art. The cross taught all wood to resound [Christ's] name... His stretched sinews taught all strings what key is best to celebrate this most high day.
Nathan Dyck, a fourth-year Music major at CMU and one of the evening's feature soloists, says:
"Working this piece over in rehearsal has reinforced for me the incredible gift of life. The theme of resurrection paves the way for us to overcome our own trials. In these troubling times, music acts on us in ways that spoken word cannot. It is my hope that this concert will encourage and spur listeners into action, wherever they may influence their world for good."
This Thirsty Land will take place at Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute (173 Talbot Ave., Winnipeg) beginning at 7:30 PM. Tickets will be available at the door for $20 per adult, $10 for students, and children 12 or under admitted free.
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU's Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry, Business Administration, Peacebuilding and Collaborative Development. CMU has 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at its Shaftesbury Campus and Menno Simons College Campus. CMU is a member of Universities Canada.
For information about CMU, visit cmu.ca.
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
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Canadian Mennonite University
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