Music

Halifax Music Co-op shares the spotlight with aerial acrobats

Choir songs, spoken word poetry and acrobatics take the stage at Murmur 2016

The Halifax Music Co-op’s (HMC) Big Choir is ending its fall season Tuesday with the sound of 30 voices singing in harmony, spoken word poetry and aerial acrobatics.

Aiyana Graham performing aerial acrobatics on silks during spoke word.
Aiyana Graham performing aerial acrobatics on silks.   Moriah Campbell

HMC choir director Tessa Short said this is the first time the choir has collaborated with acrobats.

“It makes it more immersive because when you go to a choir performance, you sit there and watch them sing,” she said. “But their art is for your ears and not necessarily for your eyes.”

The Murmur 2016 program.
The Murmur 2016 program.   Moriah Campbell

The two-night performance called Murmur 2016 is being held at the HMC on Barrington Street.

Monday night’s performance featured Aiyana Graham’s acrobatic silks act. Acrobats Ryan Gray and Dawn Shepherd were set to perform on Tuesday.

Graham holds a pose for the crowd.
Graham holds a pose for the crowd on Monday night.   Moriah Campbell

Graham said she has been practising aerial acrobatics for five years.

“The art just comes naturally to me,” she said. “I love it.”

As members of the choir preformed a spoken word show, Graham swung from yards of purple fabric that hung from a rigging point on the ceiling.

“The acrobats are catering their art to what the music says to them,” said Short.

Short conducts the HMC Big Choir as the crowd watches.
Short conducts the HMC Big Choir as the crowd watches.   Moriah Campbell

Short said the HMC Big Choir recently finished another concert and had only three weeks to prepare five pieces of music for this event, but they learned quickly.

A colourful painted wall in the HMC space.
A colourful painted wall in the HMC space.   Moriah Campbell

Choir member Emily Hart praised the group’s energy.

“They just throw music at us and say ‘do it’ and then we do,” she said.

After moving to Halifax in January, Hart joined the HMC choir as a way to get out and meet people.

“This particular organization was very welcoming,” she said. “As a newcomer to the city, that was a pretty refreshing thing to experience.”

Richard Townsend accompanies the HMC singers.
Richard Townsend accompanies the HMC singers.   Moriah Campbell

The HMC accepts singers and musicians of all skill levels and auditions are conducted for placement purposes only. Piano accompanist Richard Townsend has been with the HMC for a year and a half.

Townsend said he is proud of the progress the choir has made, as many of the members this term have never sung in a choir.

“Everyone here is so enthusiastic about the music they are singing and learning,” he said.

Short and the choir take in the crowd's applause.
Short and the choir take in the crowd’s applause Monday.   Moriah Campbell

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