Friday, May 11, 2018

Podium Choir Blog Series: Aurora Women's Choir

Today's blog post is the eighth of many interview previews of performing choirs for PODIUM ON THE EDGE taking place from June 28 - July 3, 2018 in St. John's NL.

Check out my previous blog posts with The University of Redlands Chapel Singers,Toronto Children's ChorusLes Petits Chanteurs du Mont-RoyalCapital Chamber ChoirThe Oakville Choir for Children & YouthElektra Women's Choir, and That Choir !

Formed in September 2014, the Aurora Women’s Choir is a project of the Coastal Sounds Choir Association, based in Conception Bay South, NL. Aurora is an auditioned ensemble of about 20 members that performs both a cappella and accompanied repertoire of all styles and in all languages. Having grown out of a desire to challenge the singer in a fun and friendly setting, Aurora seeks to master a range of choral repertoire while exploring connections to home and heart. The choir holds at least two concerts and a fundraiser each season and takes part in various special events, shared concerts, workshops, festivals and Church services throughout the year.

In 2015 Aurora received a Gold Standard at the St. John’s Rotary Music Festival. Aurora had the distinct pleasure of representing Newfoundland at the National Unisong Choral Festival and at the 100th Anniversary Beaumont-Hamel Commemoration in Ottawa in 2016. They have been proud to perform at both Canada Day and Remembrance Day Ceremonies for the Town of Conception Bay South. This Spring Aurora was invited to perform in a special Equinox Concert at the Manuels River Centre Hibernia Interpretation Centre, sharing the stage with the Young Virtuosi of the Suzuki Talent Education Program. Aurora was also proud to support the opening Gala for Teen Challenge NL, a residential, addictions rehabilitation centre for women in Conception Bay South. The choir is full of hard-working and dynamic singers excited to participate in Podium on the Edge 2018! For more information about Aurora or the other projects of the Coastal Sounds Choir Association, visit

What do you feel makes your choir unique from other choirs? 

AC: Every choir is their own special kind of family, and Aurora is no different in that sense. What might make us unique is our size and composition – currently 18 women (with one male conductor, which we like to have fun with!) ranging in age from young adult to retiree. Member backgrounds also vary widely, from students, to professionals, entrepreneurs, teachers, and more. Choral experience and music-reading ability also varies, with some having sung since they were children, and others picking it up again after not singing for many years. Despite our differences however, of course it is the joy of music and sense of community that joins us - we do all get along and have a lot of fun learning together!

What are some recent highlights you have had with your choir? 

AC: Aurora has had a busy Spring already, having performed at three events prior to their annual Spring concert. Our own Kitchen Party fundraiser in March with special guests Dana Parsons & Wade Tarling was a great success. Also in March, the choir was invited to take part in the first of a series of special Equinox concerts at the Manuels River Hibernia Interpretation Centre, alongside the musicians of the Suzuki Talent Education Program of St. John’s. Aurora was also invited and proud to sing at the fundraising gala for Teen Challenge NL’s new women’s addiction rehabilitation centre in Conception Bay South. Aurora’s Spring concert will be held on May 12 at St. James United Church in St. John’s with special guests the Trinitas Chamber Ensemble. The choir has been invited to perform at a fundraiser for the Philharmonic Choir of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra in June and will of course be preparing for Podium in July. Aurora has sung at Canada Day and Remembrance Day Ceremonies for the Town of Conception Bay South and in 2016 travelled to represent Newfoundland at the National Unisong Choral Festival and 100th Anniversary Beaumont-Hamel Commemoration in Ottawa. Another recent event was a fun and inspiring workshop in 2017 with Scott Leithead and Nelson Nagenda followed by a thrilling massed choir concert!

What challenges do you see working with the voices in your choir? 

AC: As Aurora accepts new members both in September and January, there is a constant challenge of ever-changing membership. Combined with our relatively small size and range of vocal maturity, it can be difficult to find our ‘groove’ at the start of each term and learn to blend our voices again, but this is a welcome and necessary challenge for growth! As with many choirs or other group activities, members in Aurora are also very involved and committed to a number of causes and other responsibilities, meaning attendance is not always 100%. Learning resources are provided for home study however, and initiatives are taken where small groups will hold sectionals or other rehearsals outside of our usual time.

What can audiences hope to see from your choir at Podium? 

AC: Aurora is excited to participate in Podium on the Edge and has opted to perform one of the most challenging and powerful pieces in their repertoire – Consider the Lilies, by Canadian composer Stephen Smith. This work was originally commissioned in 2013 by the Elektra Women’s Choir in Vancouver, BC and is based on Matthew 6:25-34. The piece is meditative, starting with just two parts on one note but eventually splitting into seven parts at one time. There is a great deal of layering of rhythms and statements that represent both the major challenge and source of beauty in this piece. We hope the audience will appreciate our relatively small group’s approach, with some parts at times represented by just one or two voices. We have worked hard on blend and vowels in order to produce a clear, balanced and resonant sound. Most importantly, we hope the audience will simply sit back, relax and enjoy how the music and text together in this piece washes over mind, body and soul.

What are some future goals of the choir? 

AC: Since its inception, Aurora has been on a constant upward trend with respect to both repertoire difficulty and rehearsal pace. Our goal is to keep building on our successes, specifically with the intention of focusing more on multi-part a cappella selections, singing more frequently in the community, and touring/travelling to special events/workshops/festivals/etc. To that end, Aurora is seeking to increase its membership and invites any interested and experienced choral singers to get in touch. Auditions take place twice each year, prior to September and January.

What do you hope conference and festival attendees will take away from the experience? 

AC: There are so many things performers and audiences alike can take away from a conference and festival such as Podium on the Edge! The opportunity to get together with like-minded individuals and share in a diverse musical experience together, to learn about and hear new choirs perform, and to celebrate Canadian composers and compositions are just a few that immediately come to mind. As performers, we get to showcase our hard work and represent our communities. Groups can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in participating in these types of events, and there is always a feeling of excitement that both leads up to the experience and lingers afterwards. It is these moments that motivate us to continue to do and become even more as a group, and encourage us to seek out new repertoire and implement new performance ideas. It can be a truly unforgettable team-building and individual experience!

Andrew Cranston received a B.Mus. from Mount Allison University in 2003 and has been working with choral and instrumental ensembles ever since.  He received an M.Mus. in choral conducting from Memorial University in 2007 under the mentorship of Dr. Doug Dunsmore, Dr. Donald Buell, Marc David and Kellie Walsh.  Andrew has conducted several ensembles, including the Bedford Community Orchestra, Nova Voce Provincial Men’s Choir, the Memorial University Festival and Chamber Choirs, the Anchormen Barbershop Chorus, and the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble. He is currently the Co-Artistic Director of the Coastal Sounds Choir Association, as well as Choral Director of Topsail United Church’s adult Mixed and Men’s Choirs. Although Andrew’s background in music began with saxophone, since graduating he pursued opportunities for singing and working with choirs, including the Halifax Camerata Singers, Nova Voce, the Nova Scotia Youth Choir, the Philharmonic Choir of the NSO, Cantus Vocum Chamber Choir and the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble.  Andrew had the privilege of teaching for 3 years at the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s annual Summer Choir Camps in Berwick, NS, and in the spring of 2014 had the pleasure of both singing with and conducting the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Thank you so much, Andrew!

Aurora Women's Choir performs on Friday, June 29, 7:30pm at the Arts and Culture Centre (95 Allandale Road) as a Highlight Choir for the "Come and I Will Sing You" concert at #Podium2018.

You can follow the Aurora Women's Choir via Coastal Sounds Choir Association on social media:

Facebook: @CoastalSoundsChoir

Twitter: @CoastalSounds

- Blonde in the Choir


  1. Very insightful explanation. I was fascinated with learning about the job opportunities around the countries of the world. When I was on the google SERP, I explored this wonderful website. the details drew in this marvelous article is very charming to me, I really enjoyed the great read. Thanks for sharing.
    유흥알바 유흥알바

  2. If you’re looking for a proven and reliable casino company, this is it. You can enjoy various games such as baccarat, blackjack, roulette, mezabo, and big wheel safely. 토토

  3. You made certain good points there. I did a search on the theme and found nearly all persons
    will consent with your blog. 온라인바카라

  4. Very good written article. It will be supportive to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – can’r wait to read more posts. AMITY University Distance MBA

  5. Do you try to repair the broken part, or invest in a completely new system? The first thing to consider when faced with this question is the age of your current gas furnace. If it is older than 10 years, chances are there have been advancements in efficiency or industry standards that you can benefit from if you replace your system. furnace Aurora

  6. very good post, i surely really like this site, persist with it dotaqq

  7. This is my first time visit to your blog and I am very interested in the articles that you serve. Provide enough knowledge for me. Thank you for sharing useful and don't forget, keep sharing useful info: Best Chiropractor Lancaster CA

  8. شرکت تلکا هاست در تلاش است تا در خدمات خود بهترین باشد و در زمینه هاست فوق ارزان همواره کمک به وبمستران عزیز بکند.همچنین تلکا هاست در هاست فوق ارزان و خرید هاست دانلود ارزان نیز فعالیت دارد و هاست پرسرعت ارزان هم دارد.

  9. You will need to discover ways to respect your partner's different emotional needs. Learning this skill along the way of marriage counseling can assist your relationship with your partner grow stronger couple seeking women

  10. Agape Love holds relationships together given it concerns your mind; it's not at all simply an emotion, but they are principles in which we deliberately live, any time applied, can bond couples in unity as one. Put simply, this is a code of conduct that governs the way we handle loved ones. couple seeking girls

  11. Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future. dewa poker

  12. Different MBA schools in India have additionally made a major commitment in advancing such training among growing understudies through their reality class foundation, showing measures, course structure and arrangement record. Symbiosis Distance mba

  13. Though a topic of socio-economic influence is worth another article, there is no denying that movies have become one of the social activities. So we could try and divide a movie into good and bad but as a form of art, a movie is just that, an art.

  14. Thank you for sharing your blog. Pos Premier.

  15. It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks. couples seeking girls

  16. This particular papers fabulous, and My spouse and i enjoy each of the perform that you have placed into this. I’m sure that you will be making a really useful place. I has been additionally pleased. Good perform! sub dom dating

  17. Hey what a brilliant post I have come across and believe me I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you. swinger sites

  18. Great content material and great layout. Your website deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting. SAGAME66

  19. You have written very important information in your blog. Your blog is really nice and informative. But our service gives you more pleasure threesome websites

  20. This article is well written by a real thinking writer without a doubt. I agree many of the with the strong points made by the writer. I’ll be back day in and day for further new updates best swingers sites