Musical joy emerges from fiddling and singing

Joy of Life Festival at Alix Goolden Hall on May 3 and 4 offers both for audiences

Daniel Lapp chuckles when he thinks back to the origins of the Joy of Life Choir.

It was 24 years ago when members of the Fairfield United Church choir looking to branch into gospel music gathered together under the wing of enthusiastic congregation member Lloyd Duhaime. At the time, busy musician Lapp, who had been directing the church’s choir, was unable to take on yet another project and declined the invitation to oversee the new group.

“Lloyd was gleefully ignorant and naive, but he helped direct the choir,” Lapp says of the lovable Duhaime, who sadly passed away in 2016.

READ ALSO: Excitement builds for first Victoria Folk ‘N Fiddle Festival in Sidney

“During that first year I happened to go to Memphis on tour and I lucked into going out and attending one of Rev. Al Green’s rural church services,” he continues. “That experience blew my mind and I came back and agreed to direct the choir, which became the Joy of Life choir. We’ve always had gospel roots, but the music has changed over the years.”

Today’s version of the choir will play a central role in the Joy of Life Festival, a Victoria Conservatory of Music-presented event that features two separate concerts: The Joy of Fiddle on May 3, and The Joy of Song on May 4, both at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall.

The theme for this year’s festival is Canadian women composers, a group that could use more recognition locally, Lapp says.

“Canadian women songwriters have a real identity and they are celebrated across the world for it,” he says. “I wanted to introduce people to the music of other composers who you may not know of. I wanted to celebrate the tunesmiths who gave us these gifts.”

Joy of Fiddle features a celebration of the Lapp-directed B.C. Fiddle Orchestra’s 25th anniversary.

Special guest performer on the night is Stephanie Cadman, known in music circles as a quadruple-threat for her ability to combine fiddling, dancing, singing at a high level as well as acting. “As well as being one of finest fiddlers in Canada, she is the best step dancer and tap dancer out there,” Lapp says.

The evening will pay tribute to the longstanding tradition of fiddling in B.C. and the rest of Canada, he adds. “We have over 100 years of tradition in B.C. of fiddlers playing together. Part of the tradition is the community aspect of it, not only through house parties,but in people playing dances for their community.”

On the Saturday, the Joy of Life Choir will sing arrangements of compositions written by such notable Canadians as Connie Kaldor, Rita McNeil, Feist, Joni Mitchell, Kate McGarrigle, Shari Ulrich, Lorena McKennit and others.

Joining them on the night will be boogie-woogie, jump and blues pianist David Vest, who will also tip his musical cap to women songwriters.

Many of the songs sung by the choir will feature multi-part harmonies that help bring out the richness of the music, Lapp says.

“My goal is to create a Canadian songbook of iconic Canadian songs and arrange them with two- and three-part harmonies,” he says. On a trip to Iceland he discovered that children learn iconic Icelandic folk songs in school, and not just the melody, but the harmony parts.

“So all through adulthood when Icelanders get together at a pub or anywhere, they sing these beautiful three-part harmonies; it was so inspiring and exciting.”

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit vcm.bc.ca/events/joy-of-life-2019/ or call 250-386-5311 or stop by the Conservatory office at 900 Johnson St.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Live music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Even young fiddlers are part of the The Joy of Life Festival at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall May 3-4. Photo Mark Nicol/Courtesy Victoria Conservatory of Music

Canadian Folk Award-nominated fiddler, dancer and singer Stephanie Cadman, one third of the acclaimed country trio Belle Starr, comes to Victoria as part of the Joy of Life Festival at the Alix Goolden Hall. She’s on the bill for The Joy of Fiddle concert on Friday, May 4. stephaniecadman.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

MISSING: Saanich police search for 18-year-old last seen Sept. 9

Robyn Coker-Steel has short purple hair, frequents downtown Victoria

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

No plan in place if Sooke homeless shelter forced to shut doors

Contract for Otter Road facility now month to month

Sooke marine search and rescue cast their nets for volunteers

Non-profit looking for crew and society members

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Most Read