I had the pleasure of attending Edmonton's first choral fair this past Sunday. First and foremost, I had no role in the planning or execution of this event so my observations are purely from an outsider's standpoint. Overall, I agree with the ideology of the event: educating and distributing information to prospective choristers about Edmonton choirs.
However, I felt that the event was more of a concert rather than a fair. Also, it would have been nice to see more choirs represented since the Choral Fair only had a sampling of all the choral offerings in the city. Of course, I understand this is definitely a logistical matter, to connect with all the choirs is not an easy endeavour. I definitely think that all Edmonton choirs should have an information booth but, perhaps, not all of them need to perform. There could be some that are chosen to perform live but others could simply have an information booth. Thus, the choirs that don't perform live could provide sound stations for people to listen to choir recordings.
Truthfully, I just felt there was too much live singing. Almost all choirs sang at least 3-4 songs, and while I understand it needs to be worthwhile to the choristers who have given their Sunday afternoon to perform, I felt like it should have been more of a "choral sampler" and not so much a mini concert provided by numerous choirs. An audiences' auditory attention has the tendency to wane, and from the time I arrived there at 2 pm to when I left at 4 pm, there was no break in singing. As well, the atmosphere wasn't really conducive to mingling or walking around while choirs were on stage. I believe the event would have benefitted from more down-time so prospective choristers could walk amongst the information booths without having to feel obligated to listen to the rotating choirs in the background.
I have to applaud the efforts of all the choirs that did perform. September is a scary time to perform because most choirs would have been lucky to have even one rehearsal before performing that early in their season. It also gave me a chance to hear a lot of choirs in one sitting. I heard "Vocal Alchemy" for the first time, listened to the vocal coaches for the E-town Boy and E-town minors perform, and saw the entertaining choralography of Sherwood Park's "Gateway Chorus." Other performing groups included A Joyful Noise, Ariose, Chanteuses, Edmonton Christian Male Choir, Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus, Edmonton Youth Choir, Lynne Singers, and Richard Eaton Singers.
Ultimately, this Choral Fair has the potential to be a great annual event. It shows great promise and I am sure it will continue to develop and improve to showcase more choral talent for Edmonton audiences. There really is a choir for everybody so it's great to have an event that strives to highlight choral options within the city.
Until next time, take care readers!