Sirens and its sister choir Harmonia will celebrate the magic and wonder of the Christmas season with a set of two concerts this month. “O Star” will be performed first on December 8, 2018 at 7:30 pm at Park Royal United Church in Charlottetown. The concert will be presented again on December 9, 2018 at 3:00 pm at St. Andrew’s United Church in Vernon Bridge. The ensembles will be joined by the St. Andrew’s Senior Choir for the Vernon Bridge performance.

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Sirens and Harmonia will perform works, both separately and together, that look at the familiar Christmas story through the eyes of Mary. She is known by many names – Mother, Star of the Sea, Madonna, Queen of Heaven, Our Lady of Sorrows – and described in many terms – pure, whole, noble, meek, mild, blessed and holy.  But who was Mary and how does her womanhood help to propel the story of Christmas?

Both ensembles will explore these themes of motherhood and feminine strength through several seasonal pieces, including “Ave Maris Stella” by Eva Ugalde, “Ave Generosa” by Ola Gjeilo, “Star Carol” by John Rutter, and “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella” by Sarah Jaysmith.

Sirens is an award-winning women’s choral ensemble from Charlottetown, named after the singing femmes fatales of Greek mythology. Under the artistic direction of Kelsea McLean, the group has been lauded for its pure tone quality, sensitive musicality and tight ensemble singing. Sirens is accompanied by collaborative pianist, Stephanie Cole.

Now entering its fourth season, Harmonia is Sirens’ premiere educational program for girls between the ages of 11-18. Designed as a place to discover the joys of singing in a group, Harmonia is a community where girls can feel safe to find their voices through music. The ensemble is under the direction of Kelsea McLean, with pianist Andrea Ellis, who are both experienced educators and private music instructors.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased online or at the door.

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A Collaboration of Communities

Sirens and Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors together in a part of me and you

Sirens will kick off its 2018-19 season with a concert that reflects on the fragility of our planet and the responsibility we have to one another in a part of me and you. This concert will be presented in collaboration with the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors, best known for their multimedia theatrical work Mi’kmaq Legends. The performance will take place on November 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm at the Steel Recital Hall at UPEI.

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Singers and actors alike will reflect on challenges like reconciliation, sustainability and taking action, with a particular focus on PEI. Sirens will be joined by the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors in the PEI premiere of “Sorrow Song for Whales,” a work by Canadian composer Jeff Enns, with lyrics by PEI’s Poet Laureate Deirdre Kessler. Kessler based her lyrics on a Mi’kmaq legend as told by Elder Matilda Knockwood Snache. The song tells a parallel story to the original legend, and contemplates the plight of whales and our shared responsibility to the earth.

The concert will also feature the world premiere of “Thee,” a new work by Island composer E.K.R. Hammell, based on a text by L.M. Montgomery. “Thee” is a reflection on heartbreak and the value of shared personal experiences. Another piece, “How the Blossoms are Falling,” is a Canadian composition with text by Joy Kogawa, a Japanese-Canadian woman who was imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during World War Two. The lyrics speak of forgiveness, moving forward, and the natural evolution of life.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased online or at the door.

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