A Cantata Comes To Almonte! Saturday December 10, 2016 at 7:30 pm


The Virgin Mary to the Child Jesus Cantata is the latest work by Ottawa composer Elise Letourneau. It will be performed in Almonte by The Juliet Singers – Rachel Beausoleil, Kathleen Eagan, Diana James and Elise Letourneau. The accompanists are Joan Harrison on cello, Mike Tremblay on flute and saxophone and Mark Ferguson on piano.  In addition to the

The Virgin Mary to the Child Jesus Cantata is inspired by the Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem. This 19th Century English poet’s works included The Seraphim and Other Poems, her collection Poems and her huge work, Sonnets From the Portuguese. She and author Robert Browning were lifelong romantic partners. While most commonly known for the words in her sonnet “How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways…” many of Barrett Browning’s works contained a religious theme, reflecting her view that “Christ’s religion is essentially poetry — poetry glorified”. Hence her poem “The Virgin Mary to the Child Jesus” demonstrates not only the anxiety and anticipation of every mother holding her newborn for the very first time, but also the complex range of emotions conceivably attributable to a young girl assuming the mantle as the Mother of God.  The poem is both intimate and fierce, and a worthy candidate for Elise Letourneau’s compositional talents.

Elise Letourneau is an acclaimed composer, songwriter, solo instrumental and choral performer, arranger, and educator who resides in Ottawa. She has won several awards for choral composition and been short-listed in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as a finalist for The American Prize in choral composition. She is the director of the Carleton University Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Elise also  founded and directed Vox Eclectica Women’s Chamber Choir, and Canada’s first community jazz choir, Capital Vox, which JazzN.ca brought to Holy Name of Mary Church, Almonte in December 2013 to perform a Tribute to Dave Brubeck.  In addition Elise manages time to teach piano, voice, and flute. As a member of The Juliet Singers she will be part of the Cantata performance on December 10 in Almonte.

Writes Elise, “I create beautiful and accessible new music, and I help others find and explore the music within them, building community through sharing music together.” And so it is that Elise tackles important topics and captures touching and complex emotions through her compendium of arrangements and original compositions, including 2014’s Requiem for Fourteen Roses: Music for the 25th anniversary of the École Polytechnique Massacre; 2015’s Gone: Lament for Over 1200 Indigenous Women; and 2016’s “The Virgin Mary to the Child Jesus”, poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

JazzN.ca is proud and pleased to bring this brand new work to an Almonte audience. While normally the organizer of “jazz” house concerts, Arnie Francis, founder of JazzN.ca says, “beautiful music – created by inspiration and performed with passion – defies categorization! We are very lucky to be able to bring this timely and seasonal musical celebration to our community and we hope it is well received.”

Thanks to the generosity of Rev. Barry Carr and the members of the Almonte Presbyterian Church, the church at 111 Church St, Almonte will be the host for the Cantata Concert. A warm and inviting venue, the APC building has a sufficient, but limited seating capacity, so reserving seats early will be important for those wishing to attend. Tickets are only $20 per person online at www.jazzN.ca, or $25 at the door (if seating is available).