Dalhousie Chorus and Ora

Birdsong: a call for peace and hope

Soaring sounds inspired by birdsong and folklore.

Presented by DalChorus
Saturday, April 6, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
Joseph Strug Concert Hall

Visit dal.ca/artscentre for tickets. Box office fees will apply.

The sweet and sometimes raucous sounds of birds have inspired many composers across the ages. With their sonic inspiration and representation of freedom, peace, and hope, this DalChorus concert draws on music that was inspired by birdsong and folklore.

We begin with Sherryl Sewepegaham’s Nitohamok Askîy which, in Cree, calls on us to listen to the land, with the drum representing the land’s natural rhythm. We then explore the many ways in which birds have inspired and guided us, with sounds of the cuckoo from the mid-13th century piece Sumer is i cumen in, Gibbons’ heartbreaking madrigal The Silver Swan, and the contemporary piece Nightingale by the Fountain School’s own composition professor, Amy Brandon.

We also pay tribute to a lost Canadian musical powerhouse, with the piece Let by composer Jocelyn Morlock (1969-2023), whose especially expressive musical language was known to be inspired by birdsong. DalChorus’ Bird Song invites the audience to meditate on the return of springtime, and the beauty and freedom of birds as we sing for unity, peace, and hope.

DalChorus is a choir of 40-50 voices and comprises music students from all idioms as well as experienced choral singers from Dalhousie and the Halifax community at large. Excellence, innovation, and collaboration are the hallmarks of DalChorus. Repertoire is selected from compositions across many eras and styles, with special attention paid to the work of Canadian composers. The choir normally gives two public performances per year and had the special role of hosting and featuring in the Fountain School of Performing Art’s first annual Student Showcase Concert in 2024.

DalChorus is directed by Dr. Nicole Jordan. A Canadian-Trinidadian, “Dr. J.” spent her formative years in Halifax, Nova Scotia, then made her career in England and The Netherlands as a vocalist, creator, and academic. Dr. J. holds a PhD in Performance Studies/Music Psychology from the University of Sheffield (UK), a Master of Science in Music Psychology from Keele University (UK), and Bachelor of Music from Acadia University (CAN). Her own creative work is multidisciplinary and draws upon voice, story, movement and visual arts to tell stories of her multicultural experience.

Since returning to Nova Scotia in 2021, she has joined the faculty at the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University as Assistant Professor of Voice, DalChorus director, and advisor on equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility (EDIA) in the arts. She has recently joined the boards of the Nova Scotia Choral Federation, Camerata Singers, and the Canadian Chamber Choir to pursue her passions for choral music, community engagement, and advocacy for Black and Indigenous singers in Nova Scotia.