Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players Acapella choir enriching Calgary over 40 years Thu, 20 Aug 2015 23:15:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Upcoming performance at Equinox Vigil, Sept. 19, 2015 Thu, 20 Aug 2015 23:01:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players is one of the live musical groups that is currently scheduled to perform at Equinox Vigil, Saturday, September 19, 2015, 6:30 to 9:30 PM at the Union Cemetery near the Stampede grounds (28 Avenue & Spiller Road SE). This is a multidisciplinary arts event that explores the idea of death.

As explained by the Equinox Vigil’s website, it is “A free, family-friendly event to honour the deceased in creative and meaningful ways:

  • Art Installations & Shrines
  • Live Music
  • Video & Film Projections
  • The Union Choir
  • Digital Shrine
  • Memorial Craft-Making
  • Hosted Tea Garden
  • Poetry & History
  • Lantern Processions

Opening Ceremony 6:30 pm at the Threshold

Lantern Processions at 8 pm & 9 pm

More information:

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2015-2016 Season Plans Thu, 20 Aug 2015 22:57:06 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Concert dates for the Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players this upcoming season:

  • Concert #1 = Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7:30pm at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church
  • Concert #2 = Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 3:00pm at St. Stephen’s (note the afternoon 3pm concert time!)

This message and the 2015-2016 Season page will be updated with more details as they become available.

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2015 Fall auditions for choristers Wed, 19 Aug 2015 23:03:28 +0000 Continue reading ]]> At the beginning of this fall 2015 season, The Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players are looking for an additional Bass singer and an Alto singer.

We are also happy to hear sopranos and tenors if they are willing to be part of a waiting list should they have successful auditions.

Auditions are currently scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, September 2, 2015.

If you’d like to audition, please contact the Artistic Director, Jane Perry to schedule your audition:

Find out more about singing with us at our Auditions page:

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2015 Musical Chairs concert for Unitarian Church Wed, 13 May 2015 19:16:32 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Unitarian-church-calgaryTo thank the Unitarian Church of Calgary for providing rehearsal space for our choir, the Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players are performing along with two other choral groups at a benefit concert this month.

Here is the text of the event advertisement from the church’s website:

Musical Chairs: The Concert

  • Starts: Sunday, May 24th 2015 at 12:15 pm
  • Ends: Sunday, May 24th 2015 at 2:00 pm

Sunday, May 24 at 12:15 pm in Panabaker Hall.

Grab a coffee in Wickenden Hall, bring your lunch, and come enjoy three of our resident choirs in a noon hour concert as we raise money both for the church and for the New Chairs campaign! Come and enjoy the BarberEllas, Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players, and One Voice Chorus!

Part of the event will be a musical chairs game of a different flavour: we’ll ask the audience skill-testing music questions, and the audience member who answers correctly will have a chance to sit in one of the sample new chairs that we intend to buy for Panabaker Hall!

Admission by donation, with collected donations going to the church. We’ll also have a pledge table out for those who wish to give directly to the New Chairs campaign.

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Concert Programme and Talk from May 2, 2015 Wed, 13 May 2015 04:20:04 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players’ most recent concert, Spirit of the Renaissance — Part 2, was successfully performed at St. Stephen’s Church on May 2, 2015. Thank you to all who produced the concert, and all who attended!

If you attended or participated, we welcome your comments here and on social media.

Here is a copy of the printed programme for the concert, followed by the pre-concert talk by Marcia J. Epstein:


Exeter Cathedral ceilingCRSP Pre-concert-Talk 5-2015-Epstein.pdf

Image: “Exeter cathedral” by Wanner-Laufer – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

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Upcoming CRSP Concert May 2, 2015 Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:38:43 +0000 Continue reading ]]> CRSP-2015-May-quarterpage-adThe Spirit of the Renaissance, Part 2

Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 7:30pm
Pre-concert talk at 7:00 pm
St. Stephen’s Anglican Church
1121-14 Ave SW – (note: street parking only)
$20 Reg ~ $15 Student/Senior, FREE under 18

Buy tickets for the concert online or at the door:

Artistic Director’s Invitation

To our audience ~

As I write this, we are in the Christian season of Lent, a time to reflect on the meaning of both life and death. To 14th-century Christians, the contemplation of death included a longing for the glory of the afterlife, when one would be truly rid of the hardships of this life and could embrace instead the rapture of the kingdom of God. From this medieval view of spirituality comes the Everyman Play, a thespian ode to humankind’s greatest questions.

On Saturday, May 2 at 7:30pm, the Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players will present a condensed version of the medieval Everyman Play as an element of its concert The Spirit of the Renaissance: Part 2. Professional actor Josh Bertwistle will bring Everyman to the stage as he faces Death and wonders which of his lifelong companions will make the journey with him to the afterlife, in the play as abridged and edited by Lorna Rowsell-Petti.

Around each of the play’s scenes, CRSP will perform works that muse about the human condition, our sense of worth in relation to the divine, and our perceptions about death.

As in our first concert of the season, this May performance will include both works by

“Machaut (at right) receiving Nature and three of her children. From an illuminated Parisian manuscript of the 1350s” (

Medieval and Renaissance composers (Guillaume de Machaut, John Sheppard, William Byrd, and Jean Conseil) as well as music that embodies the spirit of the Renaissance and has been written within the last fifty years by the likes of Canadian composers David L. MacIntyre, Imant Raminsh, and Calgary’s own Marcia Jenneth Epstein, along with Estonian genius Arvo Pärt.

We will also perform choral compositions by both John Taverner (1490 – 1545) and Sir John Tavener (1944 – 2013), two composers whose lives were separated by 400 years but who shared very similar names as well as the honour of being among the most renowned English composers of their respective generations.

To add to this multimedia experience, all of the acting and choral music will be illuminated by a slideshow of Renaissance and modern artwork that reflect the evening’s themes. Further, you may see a small band of merry medieval instrumentalists play their way across the stage. And finally, lest you think that this concert experience will leave you feeling morose, please know that we will end the concert with Viadana’s exuberant Exsultate justi, in celebration of Everyman’s safe passage to the afterlife. We will then ensure your safe passage to our post-concert reception, where we look forward to engaging in conversation with you about life, the universe and everything.

Remember to arrive early–7:00pm–to take in our popular pre-concert talk! The concert will start at 7:30pm. Once again, we are proud to be performing in the beautiful sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in the Beltline (1121 14 Avenue SW). The choristers and I look forward to welcoming you!

Jane Perry
Artistic Director, Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players
March 26, 2015

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November 2014 Concert Reflections Wed, 07 Jan 2015 23:24:04 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
The Altos and Basses wing with spirit

The Altos and Basses singing with Spirit

The Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players showed the spirit of the era is alive and well with a concert that celebrated the best music of the past and present.

“It was spectacular,” said alto Suzanne Agha. “All the energy of working for months and months and then finally getting to put together a performance was a really sparkling evening. I was really proud of how we did.”

The idea for the concert came to artistic director Jane Perry after hearing audience members say that the pieces they’d enjoyed most at recent concerts were those composed within the last 50 years. This feedback inspired Perry to program a season with concerts featuring both music from the Renaissance and music inspired by the period.


click to view Programme PDF

Speaking of the Spirit of the Renaissance concert repertoire, Perry said “It takes some of the ideas and the harmonies and the sounds of early music, and filters it through a modern view. So I thought it might be fun to do a little more of that. The audience response to the concert this evening shows that that was a good choice. I think people really enjoyed it.”

Audience members confirmed Perry’s assessment.

“I think it’s good for the choir to sing everything, pieces from different eras,” said Marian Zekulin. “And for me as a person listening, I liked the change.from the Renaissance to the modern era. I liked that change—it made you sit up and pay attention.”

“I like that idea for the choir,” seconded Brandis Purcell,  “because there are so many modern composers who are so heavily influenced by Renaissance composers, and they deserve to have their voice heard.”

Audience favourites included Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, Ubi Caritas, and In Dulci Jubilo, which featured a double-choir setting.

Michael Praetorius

“Lots of people enjoyed the way we performed Michael Praetorius’ In Dulci Jubilo where part of the choir was on the stage in front of the audience and part of the choir was in the balcony behind the audience,” noted Perry. “The result was that the audience was surrounded by choristers both in front and behind, and I think it was a really cool sonic experience for people sitting in the audience.”

Perry drew on a wide range of sources of inspiration for the concert including chorister recommendations, personal favourites, and pieces she found online.

“I think like a lot of choral conductors these days who are looking for new things. I went on the Internet and just looked around at who was writing what,” Perry said, “and stumbled upon this wonderful arrangement of Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming by a Swedish composer named Jan Sandstrom.  Just ethereal—the setting is amazing. So they come to me from all over the place, these pieces.” And there are plenty more where those came from.

This season’s second concert will feature additional contemporary works. Perry thinks that while the proportion of modern to Renaissance music might change in future seasons, the “Spirit of the Renaissance” will continue to inspire CRSP.

– by Kenzie Love


Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players, November 2014

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Solstice Gathering December 21 Sat, 06 Dec 2014 18:50:06 +0000 The Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players are one of many performers at this upcoming Calgary event!

Calgary Solstice Gathering Renaissance Singers Prashant Michael John

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November 2014 Concert Feedback and Programme Mon, 01 Dec 2014 03:30:42 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Thanks to everyone who attended and supported our concert, The Spirit of the Renaissance, Part 1.

If you attended or participated, please post your thoughts on our website, or on Facebook or Google+.  We’d love to hear what you experienced, your favorite pieces, your questions or any comments. If you forget what the song was called and want to check, you can view our complete programme below, lyrics and all:


Click to view Programme PDF



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Creating the November 2014 Concert Program Thu, 13 Nov 2014 01:53:52 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
Jane Perry, CRSP Artistic Director

Jane Perry, CRSP Artistic Director

How was the music chosen for our November 29, 2014 concert, “The Spirit of the Renaissance, Part 1”?

It all started in CRSP music director Jane Perry’s mind with a couple of “Renaissance-like” choral works by Ola Gjeilo (“my favourite contemporary choral composer,” said Perry), Morten Lauridsen, and others. Responding to feedback from audience members that they had enjoyed the modern pieces when combined with CRSP’s traditional repertoire from the 15th and 16th centuries, Perry set out to create a program filled with works from both the Renaissance and modern times, showing the connections through the centuries.

The theme for this 2014-2015 season is “The Spirit of the Renaissance,” and this upcoming concert is Part One of two.  Both concerts have the same aim—to combine early and modern music in a way that shows how one has influenced the other, and how hearing one may add interesting dimensions to one’s experience of the other.

In this concert, echoes of the past are found in the present-day compositions of Gjeilo and Lauridsen, with Latin texts that were commonly found in the music of the Renaissance and earlier. Thus, we have Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium in our concert, as well as Ola Gjeilo’s Ubi Caritas. There are also traditional carols in modern arrangements, such as Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming by Jan Sandström, and This Endris Night by John Corina. The latter features a recorder descant to be played by Racheal Cogan, a guest artist at last spring’s concert.  But it’s not just the texts that link the two eras: the lush harmonies of the two modern pieces sound to Jane as if they were made for European cathedrals or other spaces with a great acoustic, just like the Renaissance works.

In putting the program together, Jane sought to balance the quieter, reflective pieces noted earlier, or the lovely carol, Gentle Mary Laid Her Child by Melchior Vulpius, with exciting, joyful ones such as Giovanni Gabrieli’s Hodie Christus Natus Est or Michael Praetorius’ In Dulci Jubilo, both arranged to be sung by two choirs. In addition, she brought back the choir’s tradition of including a “Good Cheer” section composed of rollicking Renaissance selections such as Pastime With Good Company and Trudge Away Quickly.

Jane noted, “For this concert, I chose music that touched my heart.” Her hope, and ours, is that the performance will touch the hearts of listeners in the same way.

– Leslie Buckle

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