|Musical Meditations for the Holy Season|
Under the direction of Maestro Uwe Liefländer, the Schola Choir of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, ON, performed a program of uplifting choral music in anticipation of Christmas, at a concert at St. Hedwig Church on December 9th. Reflecting on the unfathomable mysteries of the Lord’s Incarnation, birth and triumph, the choir of nearly thirty voices performed complex works by Handel, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi and other masters, as well as a few traditional carols.
The audience was invited to “journey through Advent” while the choir performed in beautiful harmony selections of Handel’s Messiah and such pieces as Carol of the Bells, Vivaldi’s Gloria, O Holy Night, and Mozart’s Laudate Dominum. As he introduced each piece, Maestro related the music to the Christmas experience—the longing and expectation of humanity for redemption, as well as the joy and awe of witnessing the birth of a triumphant Savior.
Soloists included third-year student and operatic soprano Marie-Claire Bissonnette from Brantford, and Theresa and Raphaela Platt from Wilno, who sang in duet. One arrangement by Heinrich Schütz was particularly intricate; sung by the entire choir in 8-part harmony, the piece provided a fine finale to an enjoyable afternoon.
OLSWA president, Dr. Keith Cassidy, congratulated the students saying: “The Musical Meditations for the Holy Season was an absolute delight. The level of the performance would not have been out of place in a professional setting. There was so much talent that it would be unfair to single out any individuals - but clearly national and international careers lie ahead for some. Maestro Liefländer put together an inspired program, and drew out the best efforts of a very talented group. We are very proud of the strong musical tradition at OLSWA....”
Music is an integral part of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom’s liberal arts program. All students at OLSWA take Chorus in their first year, where students learn about the riches of the Church’s musical tradition, and personally experience the beauty of choral singing for the weekly Academy Mass. Students also have the opportunity to take a variety of voice, instrument, and music pedagogy classes taught by Maestro Liefländer, including the Ecclesiastical Schola class which performed at the concert.
OLSWA recognizes that the study and experience of singing Church music is an important part in the expression of the Catholic faith and the strengthening of faith. As Pope John Paul II wrote in his Letter to Artists, “The faith of countless believers has been nourished by melodies flowing from the hearts of other believers, either introduced into the liturgy or used as an aid to dignified worship. In song, faith is experienced as vibrant joy, love, and confident expectation to the saving intervention of God.”
Choir director Maestro Uwe Liefländer received his credentials from the famous Regensburg Academy for Church Music in Germany, and for the last several years, he has taught at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. He is the founding director/conductor of Canada’s Sacred Music Society. At Toronto’s World Youth Day in 2002, Maestro conducted the 500-member World Youth Day Choir for the Papal Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II.