Hurray for Jenny Crober and the East York Choir for a powerful and soul stirring afternoon of song. Choral music is a force of nature, I find, and we were treated to Canadian composers, Tchaikovsky and a Bulgarian folk song. My personal favorites were Wood River, The Scout and Polegnala e Todora. The switch to Spirituals was powerful with "Ain't got time to die and De blin' man stood on de road and cried.
At the intermission I bid for perennials to plant in my upstart garden and then I kept my fingers crossed. Matlakala/Emily was an up beat joyous song to begin the African section. Indeed I loved all the songs but since I'm choosing favorites, I must say I love the rythm and tempo of Si njay njay njay, I love the gentleness and calm of Hamba Lulu. Vamudara makes me want to dance the "adowa" and O Sifuni Mungu and Siyahamba must be everybody's favorite. Ah, I might as well add on Hombe for its vocal complexity and Thula baba which i first heard in the show Umoja. There I loved them all.
"Onipa da wo ho so," written by my godfather, Dr. Ephraim Amu never ceases to call out my goosebumps one by one. He would have been so proud and so would my Dad who visited Canada only once in his lifetime. The little percussion section grew larger at Larry Graves suggestion. Suddenly not only did he want to drum but he wanted to sing, and involve the audience in the signature double clap of Kpanlogo. He even got me to dance the kpanlogo. How could I refuse? He and Fule had a blast, Larry on the kpanlogo and Fule on the djembe. My story The Magic Tree of the Sahel was well received and the afternoon came to an end.
The choir and Jenny received a standing ovation which I consider well deserved. At the end, we met so many people and received an abundance of compliments. I remember particularly, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor who directs the great Nathaniel Dett Chorale , Constantin and Mima who hail from Bulgaria. Mima is a member of the Trio Orpheus and Mariatou comes from Sierra Leone. I thought it would be a wonderful event and so it was. The Nathaniel Dett Chorale will be singing in Guelph in the fall. I wonder: what about the East York Choir? Maybe Guelph should have a taste of them too.