The Stella Maris Choir – resident ensemble of South Surrey’s Good Shepherd Church – is sharing its spiritually-uplifting music and its message on a third European tour.
And while it can’t take the rest of us along with it, it will offer a preview of the tour program this Sunday (June 29, 3 p.m.) at the church, 2250 150 St.
In keeping with the charitable impetus central to the choir’s mission, proceeds from the concert (tickets $10; $8 seniors and students) will go to the White Rock/Surrey Food Bank, and donations of non-perishable food will also be accepted in bins provided in the foyer of the church.
Following up on the choir’s previous tours (Germany in in 2009, across Europe in 2012) the 2014 itinerary, featuring concerts in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, will run from July 16 to Aug. 3.
Judging by the previous warm response of European audiences to Stella Maris’ approach – which could be described as faith manifest through sheer joy in musicality – the new tour will also be a huge success.
“Our reasoning behind going on these tours is simply to share our faith with others, to promote peace among all people, and to do this through our music,” said Stella Maris founder and director Trudi Stammer.
“The admission prices that are charged in Europe are donated to the venue, usually a church, and are used for charitable purposes in their community,” she added.
“We have sung in many beautiful churches on our tours and made many friends,” she said.
If there’s a secret to Stella Maris’ connection with audiences, Stammer said, it’s that the singers really invest themselves in their performances, as well as singing the music.
“When any choir sings, it’s important for both the notes and the lyrics to connect with the audience,” she said.
“That’s what this choir does and does really well. They make the words so meaningful and touching to people – it’s their outstanding quality.
“Some choirs, while excellent technically, can’t do that, and it means they’re not fulfilling what the music can be. But our members enjoy what they do, and enjoy having it connect with people.”
In Germany, the Stella Maris Choir will perform at the Dom in Speyer, St. Michael’s in Rosrath, the Protestantische Kirche in Mutterstadt and the stadthalle in Hahnheim.
In the Netherlands, they will perform at St. Jan De Doper church in Zutphen, while, in Belgium, they will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One at a Canadian war memorial honoring the fallen in both world wars.
Repertoire, which will be previewed at Sunday’s concert, includes selections ranging from spirituals I’m Gonna Sing Til The Sprit Moves and Deep River, to the popular You Raise Me Up, to Stan Rogers’ Fogarty’s Cove, the Pie Jesu from Karl Jenkins’ Requiem, Goin’ Home from Dvorak’s NewWorld Symphony, Praise His Holy Name by Keith Hampton, and the Kenyan song of blessing Wanna Baraka, sung a cappella with African drum.
Stammer also notes that Sunday’s concert will also feature Stella Maris’ “accompanist extraordinaire” Henri Lorieau, and popular soloists Kiel Magis and Anna Boots.
While the choir is away, Good Shepherd will feature an international exchange of musical talents on Sunday, July 27, at 2:30 p.m. with a concert by a professional Jugend (youth choir) visiting from Trier, Germany.
Some 50 members aged 13-19 will perform under the direction of leader Thomas Kiefer.
For more information on both concerts, call 604-531-5739.