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A Great Service

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November 8 & 11, 2014

The 23rd annual Remembrance Day concerts

with Christopher Gaze, O.B.C., reader

Ellen Ay-Laung Wang, guest organist

Ken Cormier, pianist

Amidst the chaos of war, soldiers consoled each other, tended the wounded, and cared for each other. Robert Service witnessed these unsung acts of compassion as a WWI volunteer ambulance driver. A Great Service incorporates his observations and stories, placing them alongside musical selections by Gustav Holst, Vaughan Williams, Paul Mealor, and Rupert Lang in this beloved Chor Leoni Remembrance Day tradition.

guest artists

This concert is supported by a major gift from Rob McAllister and James Emery, in loving memory of Shirley McAllister.

Full Details

22nd annual Remembrance Day concerts

Saturday November 8, 2014 | 7:30pm
Queens Avenue United Church
529 Queens Ave (at 6th St), New Westminster

Tuesday November 11, 2014 | 1pm
West Vancouver United Church
2062 Esquimalt Ave, West Vancouver

Tuesday November 11, 2014 | 7:30pm
St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church
1022 Nelson St at Burrard, Vancouver

$30 adults & seniors | $10 students [w/ID] + service charges

Tickets available through TicketsTonight 604.684.2787 ext 2
Please note that ordering online and printing your tickets at home is the cheapest method of purchase.

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  1. Moving, powerful, well sung and very meaningful for Remembrance Day. Christopher Gaze’s readings meant that we weren’t just listening to moving music but heard the specific reality of war so that the music had much greater meaning and impact.

    Thank you

    —Gillian Coates |
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  2. A wonderful glorious meaningful concert for honouring our dead; the ones who gave their lives and many so young, for our freedom. Beautiful! Well done!

    (An aside. I didn’t like or appreciate paying $5 more paying cash at the door and no Seniors rate to boot!)

  3. Our family was deeply moved by ‘A Great Service’. Having been to several CL performances we knew the level of music would be stellar. The combination of music, singing and narration was breathtaking. Thank you for a respectful tribute to all who have served so we may live in peace.

    —Patricia |
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  4. Remembrance Day Services around the world are held to honour the dead — the fallen heroes who went on to fight for their country, and their own beliefs. However, until this evening, no Remembrance Day Service, that I can recall, had even begun to touch on the incredible horror of war; the loss of not just lives, but dignity, humanity and compassion. In past Chor Leoni’s annual Remembrance Day concerts we have heard many wonderful recollections, but none have been as impactful as this evening’s presentation, featuring the writing of Robert W. Service, the Canadian poet-journalist who wrote from the front lines where he served as an ambulance driver in France during WWI, in and where he wrote “Rhymes of a Red Cross Man.” Christopher Gaze read the excerpts, which Artistic Director Erick Lichte researched, finding some long-lost manuscripts of Service’s journalistic entries from the War to End All Wars.

    This was a concert that saluted heroism, but also recognized the futility and brutality of what going to war is really all about. The readings by Gaze which interspersed the music brought us an evening of remembrance unlike I have ever experienced. One of the most poignant and painful is the Eric Bogle anthem “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” which recounts the memories of an Australian who fought at Gallipoli, and returned home without legs to face pity and sometimes even scorn from his countrymen. This piece, unlike any other Remembrance Day musical tribute lays bare just how dreadful lives are after the wars, not just during the horrible conflicts.

    There are two more Chor Leoni “A Great Service” presentations: 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 11 at West Vancouver United Church, 2062 Esquimalt Ave., and again at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s-Westley United Church, 1022 Nelson at Burrard Street. Go and Remember All Canadians who gave so much for our freedom — then and now!

  5. This was our first CL performance. It was a wonderful experience.
    Very moving and meaningful concert. excellent performance done by all.
    Plan on taking in more performances in the future.

    —sande marples |
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  6. What a moving and truly inspiring tribute to those who fought and continue to fight for our country. The readings by Christopher Gaze and the songs by the choir moved seamlessly throughout the evening and I struggled to hold back tears more than once. I almost made it until I saw a member of Chor Leoni with tears streaming down his face while he managed to continue to perform. It’s exactly that kind of passion and emotion that made the performance so amazing.

    —Janine Ferguson |
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  7. I have wanted to attend one of these concerts for many years and was thrilled that I was able to last night. It was amazing and I appreciate the dedication and hard work that goes into the preparation of the varied choral works. It was reflective and inspiring and it was wonderful to be able to sing during the Rupert Lang number – beautiful! Thanks you !

    —Kathy Richardson |
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  8. We both thoroughly enjoyed our first Chor Leoni concert and look forward to attending more. The choir is magnificent !,,,,

    —Elizabeth and Stuart Johnston |
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  9. Moving beyond words. Thank you, from the Collins family!

    —Donna Collins |
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  10. We thoroughly enjoyed ‘A Great Service’ with Chor Leoni. The evening program was very well done, absolutely moving. We loved how the evening unfolded…..having the audience sing together at the end was a great release of all the pent up emotion from the readings by Christopher and the singing by the choir. A perfect evening,

    —Lois |
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  11. Wonderful performance by everyone on Saturday. A lot of thought went into the selection of the pieces and the reading of Robert Service’s prose which brought home the reality of war to me. Well done.
    Congratulations on providing a remarkable printed program too.

    —roger whitehouse. |
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  12. My husband and I were profoundly moved by the service/concert.
    The solemnity was exactly the way it should have been.
    Thank you so much for all the time and effort that must have gone into doing such a fine event.

    —Lindy McQueen |
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  13. Hi – I was familiar with prior Remembrance Day Services but thought it would have been helpful to have announced the performance would run straight through with no breaks for applause and also that all the readings were written by Robert Service. It was only after the concert that I discovered the readings were all written by Robert Service. I enjoyed the concert, thank you.

    —Kathleen McLeod |
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  14. I have just got home and I am emotionally drained. It was such a fantastic performance. Very moving. I always love to hear Keith sing “And the band played Waltzing Mathilda, and Bruce Hoffman singing the Kontakion moved me to tears.

    Thank you for a wonderful concert.

    —Judith Parkes |
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  15. Another great performance. Have attended for years and years.

    —B Elaine Barkey |
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  16. Chor Leoni’s Remembrance Day concert is my favourite of all the concerts. I never miss it, and have attended for more than a decade. Today’s concert was moving, poignant and solemn reminder of how it was to be in the trenches in WW1, and the music that underscored the stories was profound and beautiful. Christopher Gaze is a magnificent reader and a welcome addition to today’s concert. Loved that Robert Service’s stories were used – truly a Canadian treasure. Tears fell as the trumpeter played Last Post and the rising of the audience to sing the last song together is always a moment that I honour, cherish and await. The choir was magnificent, as always. We are so lucky to have Chor Leoni in our community.

    —Susan Summers |
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  17. Enjoyed Eric’s opening piece, dies irae very powerful & convincingly sung; Stephen Baker a very pleasant surprise–give him more solos, Keith did a great job on Matilda, the Kontakion, as always, a most sensitive ‘closer’ which takes many of us to a ‘thin’ (holy) place. Christopher is a genuine ‘transporter’ wherever & whenever–a veritable gem to theater & music. As always with Diane’s legacy, how does one ever remain an atheist after sitting through a Chor Leoni concert offering?? Best regards to your Lutheran Bishop.

    —gordon squire |
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  18. excellent performance

    —carole |
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  19. This was the first Nov. 11th concert I have attended. I felt the programme was respectful, very moving and of a high artistic standard. Eric Lichte, Christopher Gaze and Robert Service script, and your magnificent choir gave me a very fulfilling afternoon. Thank you .

    —Anne Cameron |
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  20. Have just arrived home after a memorable afternoon enjoying your concert. It truly was a “great service”. Thank-you all for your hard work and dedication.
    F. Smith

    —Frances Smith |
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  21. Just got home from the concert with cold cheeks and fingers. It is nippy outside. As always, I enjoyed the concert, but I was disappointed that there was so much Christopher Gaze and not enough choir. It was like the evening was a Christopher Gaze event with the choir as backup. I delight in Christopher and his immense talent, but I felt the balance was off. Also, I thought the audience should have stood at the Last Post and to sing the Kontakion. What do you think?

    —Helen |
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  22. I found the concert very powerful and very poignant. Loved Christopher Gaze’s reading of the poems. Loved the rendition of ‘and the band…’ and thought the trumpet player was sublime.

    It was a perfect concert for a ‘remembrance’ day.

    Thank you.

    —Louise Belisle |
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  23. wonderful, sweet voices, great job by Christopher Gaze.

    —heather phillips |
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  24. We loved the concert and found it very moving. We have been attending your Remembrance Day Concert for about 18 years and wouldn’t consider missing it. Thank you.


    —Kathy Shynkaryk |
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  25. 1. I think I am already on your e-mail list.

    2. I wrote a note to my friend Monika Forberger tonight after I got home from the concert. If I ever wondered where Chor Leoni would go after Diane Loomer’s death, Erick Lichte has shown us where. The introduction of the spoken voice to the musical one brought a new dimension to choral singing. But, then anyone who has attended the Bard concerts or the new Idol competitions knows that Chor Leoni is not just another boy group. They are masters of their art.
    A Korean friend of mine, who’s father was a well known choral conductor in Korea, told me Chor Leoni is one of the wonders that make him glad he chose to come to Canada.

    —Frederick Morley |
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  26. incredibly moving

    —Rosa |
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  27. This performance was so power-packed, so emotional, so overwhelming, so completely perfect for the occasion – I don’t think I can review it.

    —Lorraine Bennett |
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  28. This performance was amazing, made all the more moving by Christopher Gaze’s readings. Bruce Hoffman’s solo in Kontakion simply was the icing on the cake. Congratulations to Erick and the Chor Leoni choir for one of the best Remembrance Day concerts in recent memory. As one of the previous reviewers, said, Chor Leoni is not just another boys’ group, they are a professional jewel in the Vancouver choral community or even, I daresay, the Canadian choral community. Bravo.

    —Mary Lou |
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  29. Chor Leoni’s “A Great Service” truly was that last night at St. Andrews-Wesley United Church. The variety of stunning music, excellence and commitment of performance by all, connected by riveting readings by Christopher Gaze, made for a most memorable Remembrance Day concert. “I Saw Eternity” was particularly moving and will be repeated in future years, I hope. Thank you to the Lions!

    —Diane Walker |
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  30. A wonderful concert and I loved Christopher Gaze,s narration. The poetry is gut wrenching and real and it brought home the futility and senselessness of war!
    The choir has beautiful tone and diction and are obviously very engaged with their director and he with them. Thank you for a very moving performance.

    —Elizabeth Smith |
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  31. Thank you all for a remarkable and moving concert. We have been attending the CL Remembrance day concerts for many years, and they mark the day for us. This was one of the best ever, in our opinion, beautifully researched, planned and executed. What a treat to witness this gorgeous moving event and to be able to release some emotional tension by singing together Rupert Lang’s Kontakion at the conclusion. Christopher Gaze’s excellent readings from Robert Service wove a thread of the brutal reality of war throughout the concert. Every musical piece was a highlight, beautifully performed. Well done.

    —Michael Redding |
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  32. A beautiful service. Seamless. Thoughtful.

    —Judy Ashton |
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  33. What an emotional afternoon. Just to hear those wonderful songs full of sorrow, war and it’s results sets this choir midst the world’s best.

    Thank you!

    Kontakion still resounds in my head and heart. Is it recorded anywhere?

    —janet Dysart |
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  34. Absolutely one of the most beautiful, moving and emotional Remembrance Day concerts ever attended. The music was, as always, perfection and that wonderful and talented Christpher Gaze is a treasure. Such a combination and we, the audience, are so priviledged to be part of it. Many thanks for another stellar performance.

    —Grant and Fran Riddell |
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  35. I found the performance last evening inspiring and a true tribute to remembrance of all those who have fought for our country and been affected by war. As one who expressed reservations about the focus of the 2013 performance, last night the selection of music and Robert Service’s work overcame them all. The integration of music and readings by Christopher Gaze was done to perfection. You all excelled.

    —Anne Wyness |
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  36. Albeit that we were in the last pew, the audio system made Christopher Gaze nearly impossible to hear. What a pity! Otherwise it was one more in a long series of worthwhile concerts from the Chor.
    Incidentally, I also missed standing for the playing of the bugler and the singing of the, moving, but traditional song in the Nov. 11th repertoire.
    Thank you for the opportunity to send feedback.

    —Jean Hurst |
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  37. It was the most morbid,depressing lecture

    —E.Trevor[Smith |
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  38. I went to the Chor Leoni Remembrance Day concert at St. Andrews Wesley Church last night. It was the most moving Remembrance Day concert yet. The Robert Service words woven throughout the program, sometimes standing on their own, sometimes spoken with the choir’s rich choral background lifting them to another level. It was magnificent. Kudos to Erick for crafting this concert so brilliantly and for the choir and Christopher Gaze, as narrator, for knocking it out of the park. Thanks to all of you for the gift you gave to us – your ever grateful audience.

    —Jennifer Gaze |
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  39. My first concert. So moving and I left thoughtfully and blessed. Thanks!

    —Mary Ellen Morris |
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  40. Absolutely beautiful, profound concert. Perfect combination of readings and music.

    —Margaret Sarkissian |
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  41. Helen (above) wrote: “Also, I thought the audience should have stood at the Last Post and to sing the Kontakion. What do you think?” Well, if she had been at West Van she would have witnessed that very act.

    I can’t heap more praise than has already mounted up. There are only so many words and they all seem to have been used. But I believe Christopher Gaze’s readings were a pivotal part of the program. He was able to transport me to the various places and times and I was hard-pressed to save my tissues to the end of the evening.

    —Sydney Preston |
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  42. Dear Choir members,

    I took a friend with me to the concert and we both thought it was a wonderful concert. I last heard Chor Leoni in Squamish for a Christmas concert and knew how wonderful their voices blended. This time, I was taken with the narrator Christopher Gaze and how the songs were presented. Hearing the soloists was also high point. All in all my congratulations go to the magnificent choir.
    The director showed such finesse bringing out the dynamics and expression.
    It was nice to hear the organ and other sound effects too.

    —Paula Donville |
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  43. Absolutely fantastic! What a moving concert. There were moments of such silence you could hear a pin drop in the church, and then the voices seamlessly and reverently warmed the space and took us on a beautiful journey of sadness, respect, and remembrance.

    I especially enjoyed the piece “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”.

    Thank you for the lovely concert.
    Rachel and Rafael Franco

    —Rachel Franco |
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  44. From the first ethereal notes, of such purity it made my scalp tingle, until the last note was sung, the choir was magnificent and Christopher Gaze’s readings were deeply moving. I am running out of superlatives! The whole concert was superb.

    —Susan Slater |
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  45. The concert was lovely. Of course, the choir was wonderful, as they are every time I’ve attended a concert. But what hit a real chord for me were the readings. Christopher Gaze was amazing. He brought as much emotion to the readings as the choir brought to the music.

    I do prefer Christ Church, if I can comment on the venue.

    —Barbara |
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  46. Great concert! Back to the level of excellence in content and choral prowess that I was used to. The Service readings were a terrific idea, and Christopher Gaze was, as always, perfect!
    Loved the Dies Irae. This choir has so much power, great to see it shown in this piece.

    —mary lage |
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  47. It was a beautiful concert. The use of the poems of Robert Service with Christopher Gaze enlarged the impact of Remembrance Day and turned it into a choral story that drew listeners in more deeply to the horrors of war, to the sacrifices of those involved, and to the strength of the human spirit.

    —Susan Humphrey |
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