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    Gabrielle PrataMEDIA RELEASE March 17, 2013  

    Over a decade and a half ago, the talents of our community joined together to gave birth to an incredible production of Jesus Christ Superstar. The idea of Westben was formed.  A year later came The Sound of Music followed by Requiem for a Millennium. These were the first unforgettable productions of the Westben Arts Festival Theatre which, since those early days, has welcomed hundreds of artists (local, emerging, national and international) as well as thousands of patrons to its sunny performances.Now, more than 300 concerts later, Requiem for a Millennium is being remounted. This April, the Westben Festival Chorus teams up with the Kingston Chamber Choir and soloists under the direction of Brian Finley for two performances of Brian’s Requiem for a Millennium.  Composed on the eve of the present millennium, the piece commemorates the lives of two of the twentieth century’s most remarkable women – Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Princess Diana.  It is a powerful, 75-minute piece of hope, peace and light which includes settings of the Requiem Mass and Psalms 22, 23 & 24. The music has been described as lyrical, moving and inspirational. Perhaps you saw that original performance which was recorded for release on CD late in 1999, or maybe the second production in 2001.  The piece was also performed by the MacMillan Singers along with a massed choir of over 500 at the University of Toronto in 2002, and most recently by the Kingston Chamber Choir in Kingston last fall.  Several of its movements were among the first of Brian’s works to be published internationally by Boosey & Hawkes in New York.I asked Brian why he decided to mount this piece this year – why now?   “Westben continues to be a remarkable journey where friends – artists, participants, volunteers, supporters – have grown into an amazing family. Our journey together has been filled with thrilling and inspiring music, made better for making it together!  Along the way, though, we have also had to say goodbye to several of these precious friends.  For that reason – to remind ourselves of both the beauty and fragility of life – I felt the need to honour these fellow music-lovers through music. And because of its history with Westben, I felt that the Requiem would be the most meaningful way to keep in touch with the precious roots of this very special organization.”  In addition to the choruses, soloists in the production include Gabrielle Prata, mezzo soprano; Keith Klassen, tenor; Robert Longo, baritone and myself.  Learning a new piece of music is exciting: you read the text, skim the music, play it on the piano, learn the notes and work them into your voice, gradually putting together all the pieces of technique, interpretation, structure, line, language and style. It is a discovery. Coming back to a piece is a different type of discovery!  It is almost like a favourite and familiar piece of clothing: you recognize it, love the feel, but it still feels different every time you wear it.  There always seem to be new nuances in the music and text and richness of the piece continues to develop. Somehow it feels deeper yet challenging.  As we make this musical journey once again, I hope you will join us! Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 pm (Trinity United Church, Cobourg) and Sunday, April 14 at 3 pm (Norwood United Church, Norwood).  Please note that the Kingston Chamber Choir is only available to perform in the Cobourg performance.  Tickets are available at the Westben Box Office 1-705-653-5508 or toll free 1-877-883-5777 or online www.westben.ca

    Media Contact:  Donna Bennett, 1-705-653-5508 or 1-877-883-5777 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.westben.ca

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