Peterborough Singers to perform Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation, May 9

If there’s one thing that the Peterborough Singers do well, it’s “epic.” With over 100 members, the Singers have been bringing audiences to their feet with magnificent performances of the world’s great classical works for over 20 years now.

But the literally cosmic theme of their next performance, Haydn’s challenging masterpiece, The Creation, will stretch the dynamic range even of the Singers. Haydn’s oratorio draws upon the Biblical account of Genesis, and John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, to describe the creation of the Cosmos musically. In the words of Haydn, “I was never so devout as when I was at work on The Creation; I fell on my knees each day and begged God to give me the strength to finish the work.”

As he rehearses the choir to perfect Haydn’s oratorio, Peterborough Singers artistic director Syd Birrell says he too has been pondering the mysterious act of creation in a somewhat unexpected context. In his rare free moments at his cottage while operating the mini-excavator, Birrell has built a road, dug a pond, gathered up fallen trees, and moved large rocks just for the fun of it to create his own mini-version of Stonehenge.

“I have been thinking that my obsession with my digger tells me why I also have a great passion for conducting The Peterborough Singers,” says Birrell. “I like to shape and mould, and create beauty. I like to dream outside the box, to be innovative, to surprise and be memorable. Just as delicate hand movements are magnified by the digger’s hydraulics to move stones weighing many tons, so the small movements of the conductor’s hands control a wall of sound created by 100 choristers. Force magnification. The conductor can unleash passions that inspire, that are enduring, that create lifelong memories, that make us better people.”

“Creativity is a great mystery. As each element is shaped, moved, and moulded the artist must trust that the creation will come to a beautiful end,” he concludes. “How appropriate that this season culminates with a performance of The Creation.”

Continuing their tradition of supporting emerging artists, the Singers will welcome five stunning young soloists to the concert.

Soprano Chelsea Van Pelt
Soprano Ellen McAteer
Tenor Christopher Mayell
Bass-baritone Tyler Fitzgerald
Bass-baritone Joel Allison

Anchoring the choir and soloists will be world-renowned organist Ian Sadler, whose accomplishments and awards are too many to even begin to list here. Ian has been nominated for The Order of Ontario (2003) and The Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (2007).