I had the great privilege this past weekend to attend one of the premiere US concerts of the Cuban choir, Schola Cantorum Coralina, brought to us through the initiation of our very own Philip Brunelle and VocalEssence.
I didn't quite know what to expect going into it. A few weeks ago I thought in my naïve, snobby Midwest "our choirs are the best" attitude, "Okay. A Cuban choir? This will be nice. Some mambo and Afro-Cuban percussion with added singing. Cute. Fun."
...No. It was so much more than that. I was COMPLETELY blown away. Of course there was rhythm, but it was a side note. It was as if they said, "Well, yeah. We're Cuban. Get over it. Now check this out!" I was taken by the tightness of their blend and expressive movement, the complexity of the repertoire, a genre seemingly lost to our American choral ears (Cuban choral music that is), and their unwavering communication. Their conductor (Alina Orraca) had enormous control of this choir who had the musical spectrum and control likened to a 1966 Pontiac GTO - beautiful, tender, muscular, fast, and sassy.
My mind has been consumed ever since, LITERALLY unable to stop thinking or talking about their performance!
A beautiful combination of high-caliber musical performance and commitment to youth education, instilling a passion for choral music in the Cuban community.
If you missed it, I am sorry. BUT, you can still check them out online. Here are some videos from their winning performance at the 2007 European Grand Prix for Choral Singing.
Highlights from Nov. 14 to 20
Wednesday, 12 noon: Music with Minnesotans. Park Square Theatre's Steven Lockwood.
Wednesday,8 pm: Minnesota Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor.
Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: From a Chopin Society recital, pianist Lukas Vondracek.
Friday, 8 pm: Minnesota Orchestra: Britten, Sibelius (the Violin Concerto with Midori) and Debussy.
Saturday, 7 pm: Carnegie Hall Live: John Eliot Gardiner leads Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.
Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: David Briggs.
Sunday, noon: From the Top.
Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra plays Respighi, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff.
Monday, 8 pm: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: Three of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.