LSM Newswire

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ST. MICHAEL’S CHOIR SCHOOL releases their 10th recording IN MIDNIGHT’S STILLNESS at this year’s 70th annual Christmas performance


Toronto, ON Monday, December 7, 2009

Just in time for Christmas, St. Michael’s Choir School announces the upcoming release of its 10th recording. In Midnight’s Stillness is one of this celebrated choir’s most moving Christmas albums to date. With music ranging from sacred to secular this collection offers a host of traditional carols, sacred melodies and new contemporary Christmas favourites. In the hands of the Choir School conductors Jerzy Cichocki, Caron Daley and Teri Dunn, along with the choristers of the Elementary, Junior and Senior choirs, these timeless Christmas melodies are fresh, interesting, and soaring with jubilation. Special guest artist, award-winning quintet the True North Brass adds a special festive sparkle throughout the glorious new recording.

In Midnight’s Stillness takes its name from the breathtaking traditional Polish carol, “Wśród Nocnej Ciszy”. Arranged by St. Michael’s Choir School’s Artistic Director, Dr. Jerzy Cichocki, “In Midnight’s Stillness” displays the lyrical beauty and charm of Polish folklore. Other musicians featured on this exceptional recording include St. Michael’s Choir School alumnus Dr. Kola Owolabi, who contributed several striking compositions including the award-winning “Hodie Christus natus est”, a setting of a Christmas antiphon stylistically reminiscent of the double choir motets of Heinrich Schütz; and a festive arrangement of “Joy to the World” written for CBC Radio’s 1997 Christmas Sing-In. Kola’s brother Kunle Owolabi contributed the beautiful piece “Medieval Carol”, which he penned at the remarkable age of 15.

In Midnight’s Stillness is dedicated to Monsignor Thomas Barrett Armstrong, a priest of the Archdiocese of Toronto, a graduate of St. Michael's Choir School and former Director of Music of this world-renowned institution. Although he passed away on November 14, 2009, Monsignor Armstrong’s contributions to music will never be forgotten. Included in this recording is Monsignor’s rich, reverent and soaring setting of “To One That is So Fair and Bright”. This setting of the XVth century Marian text is a wonderful tribute to the memory of Monsignor Armstrong.

The release of In Midnight’s Stillness will coincide with St. Michael’s Choir School’s 70th annual Christmas concert Sing We Noël, Noël We Sing at Massey Hall on Friday, December 11th and Saturday December 12, 2009. Tickets are $36.50 - $22.50 and can be purchased by calling 416-872-4255 or by visiting the Roy Thomson Hall Box Office, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, www.masseyhall.com. The CD will be available for purchase at these concerts, and from the school by calling 416-398-5518, or by visiting the school’s website at www.smcs.on.ca.

About St. Michael’s Choir School

Founded in 1937 with the purpose of providing sacred music for services at St. Michael’s Cathedral in downtown Toronto, St. Michael’s Choir School is a centre for musical and academic excellence. It is one of only six choir schools in the world affiliated with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome. Each student admitted to the Choir School is trained in vocal, technical, and instrumental music, and sings in one of the school’s choirs.

Balancing the sacred and the secular is customary for the school. St. Michael’s Choir School is not only known for its music program, but also academic achievement, consistently ranking at the top of Fraser Institute surveys. For seventy years, graduates of the Choir School have pursued studies in science, education, medicine, law, and business and, of course, music. In the last group are the Crew Cuts and Four Lads of the 1950s and present-day musical artists Michael Schade, John McDermott, Stewart Goodyear, Kevin Hearn (of The Barenaked Ladies), Robert Pomakov, Matt Dusk, Michael Colvin, Claude Morrison (of The Nylons), and Michael Burgess.

In addition to the annual Christmas concert, the choirs perform publicly in an annual tour and at many local events. Dignitaries such as His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien have enjoyed the choir’s performances. For more information: www.smcs.on.ca.

Massey Hall, Friday, December 11, 2009, 8 PM and Saturday, December 12, 2009, 3 PM.

Tickets: $36.50—$22.50 - Call 416-872-4255 or visit the Roy Thomson Hall Box Office

www.masseyhall.com

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