It was crisp at 4:30 in the morning of July 10, 2015 as Nova Voce got on the move for their tour of the eastern seaboard of the United States. We flew to Philadelphia and from there boarded our tour bus for the 4 hour drive to Richmond Virginia.
July 11th – St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Richmond, VA – The acoustics were magical and the building’s natural reverb allowed final chords to blend and mix. Before the last notes of Rise Again had faded, the audience was on its feet. By the time we left the church, people were saying now they can add Nova Voce to the list of outstanding choirs, such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to have performed at St. Mary’s.
July 12th – Ocran United Methodist Church, Sutherland VA – The choir led music worship during the morning service during which Pastor Larry commented that he felt he had been transported to heaven when the choir sang “It Is Well with My Soul”. Before the evening concert, we were treated to southern hospitality as the congregation provided a scrumptious southern pot luck supper with some of the best southern fried chicken ever! By the time the evening show was over, audience and choristers alike felt they had participated in two very special and meaningful performances.
July 13th – Williamsburg, VA – The choir toured historic Williamsburg. We had an opportunity to recreate a dramatic scene from history around the colonies’ fight for independence, during which some of our extroverts hammed it up as early colonists in the pre-revolution town.
July 14th – Norfolk, VA – Our sister city was the location of two concerts, a promotional appearance in the MacArthur Center shopping mall and an evening concert at St. Patrick’s Catholic School. Prior to the evening concert, the choir was hosted by Norfolk Sister Cities Association for refreshments and canapés, which was a delightful way to meet members of the audience. As a sea-faring city, members of the audience were drawn to the music that spoke of the sea, such as “Ode to the Fisherman”, “Bluenose”, and “All for me Grog”. For others in the audience who were originally from Canada, our performance made them long for home.
July 15th – Wake Forrest, NC – We arrived in Wake Forrest to a warm welcome, both from the 35-degree Celsius weather and from Wake Forrest Baptist Church members, who hosted another wonderful southern meal for us. The concert space was beautiful. Modern stained glass dotted the balcony and gleaming brass was everywhere one turned an eye. The backdrop for the choir was a multi level pipe organ! In attendance at the concert were composers Jay Althouse and Susan Albricht, who have written well-known choral pieces, both together and separately. Mr. Althouse was so impressed by Nova Voce’s performance that night that he said he was going home to score some TTBB music.
July 16 – 17th – Arlington VA and Washington DC – A time to tour this historic area was highlighted by the private tour of the Canadian Embassy, including an impromptu performance in the echo chamber of the cupola on the front of the building. The next day, the choir enjoyed a guided tour of DC and exploring the many museums and sights in the area. That night, we brought the tradition of a Maritime kitchen party to Georgetown as we held a group dinner and sing along at RiRa’s Irish Pub.
July 18th – Philadelphia, PA – St. John’s Lutheran Church – The choir took some time to see some of the sights: the Liberty Bell, the steps of the Museum of Fine Art (famous from the Rocky films), and a stop for Philly Steak and Cheese sandwiches. Performing in St. John’s was a home coming for Nova Voce’s Dave Kalix and his wife Joan, who were members of St. John’s parish before moving to Halifax. One audience member commented that our interpretation of “Spaseniye” was so amazing that it had moved them to tears. Others were taken by the imagery painted during the singing of “Wood River”.
The next day we headed for the airport and home. In Philadelphia that day it was expected to reach above 40 degrees C. We arrived in Halifax to a refreshing 16 degrees and rain, but it was good to be home! There may not have been much heat here, but Nova Voce certainly turned up the heat during their performances in the States. It was an experience that provided audiences and choristers alike with treasured memories for years to come!