Lead Story 2013/11/30 - Classical Q&A with Fanshawe Chorus London's David Holler

David Holler enters his second year as Fanshawe Chorus London's Artistic Director and Conductor when he takes the podium for the organization's season opening concert, Gloria, on Saturday, November 30 at First-St. Andrews United Church.

The Beat Magazine's Richard Young caught up with Holler in between reheasals this week for some Q&A about his learning curve, the season opener, and Fanshawe Chorus London's 2013/14 Season.

Nicole Laidler will return next month.

This is your second year at the helm of the Fanshawe Chorus London organization. Lots has happened including the retirement of founders Gerald and Marlene Fagan. What kind of a learning curve has it been for you over the past 12 or so months?

It has been quite a learning experience this last year taking the helm of such a professional and well-respected organization.  My philosophy of stepping into a new situation is to observe how the organization runs the first year and see if changes need to be made.  This group has been doing just fine under the previous management, so many things went on as they did before.  This year, the choir has become more “my” group, in that I have had more say in what music is chosen and how rehearsals are run.  I think the group understands my style of rehearsal and the artistic and musical goals I have for them now – and we are making great strides in achieving these goals!  I’ve learned a lot about the financial side of such a large organization and am enjoying working with all of the wonderful artists in the choir, in the Concert Players Orchestra, and the soloists we have engaged for our performances.

Remind our readers about the structure of the Fanshawe Chorus London organization.

This year we have introduced a slightly different structure to our organization.  We have decided to focus on one choir this year, a combination of members from Fanshawe Chorus London and the Gerald Fagan Singers.  We are now one symphonic chorus and still engage the members of the Concert Players Orchestra when in need of instrumentalists for our larger works.

The November 30 concert is being held at First-St. Andrews Church, whereas FCL concerts have been traditionally held at Centennial Hall. Is this move permanent or will the organization being moving around this season?

We are grateful for all the support that Centennial Hall has provided Fanshawe Chorus London over the years and have enjoyed performing in their venue.  This year we wanted to explore another of the spectacular venues that the city of London has to offer.  First-St. Andrew’s Church is a stunning church with beautiful acoustics and a wonderful space for performers and concert goers to enjoy.  All of our performances this year will be at this location. 

What can concert-goers expect from your season opener on November 30? 

Our November 30th concert, Gloria, will have something for everyone!  We’d like to be the first to welcome the Christmas season to the city of London with John Rutter’s rousing Gloria and Daniel Pinkham’s brilliant Christmas Cantata, accompanied by the Concert Players Brass and Percussion ensemble. The choir will continue to impress with many favourite choral arrangements of traditional Christmas classics and original compositions by such composers as Bob Chilcott, Gustav Holst, and Canadian Eleanor Daley. 

To top it all off, our choir welcomes the St. Mary’s School Children’s Choir to move us with their sweet and lovely choral singing. Audience participation in carol singing will raise the roof of First St. Andrew’s Church!  There is nothing like music to bring in the joy of Christmas! 

What about the rest of this season's concerts?

Saturday, December 14, 2013 – 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Covent Garden Market
Family Christmas
• We will be performing many of our Christmas pieces that we performed at our Gloria concert with Allison Wiebe at the piano.  Audience members will be able to shop for Christmas treats while enjoying the sound of our amazing choir.  This is a free performance for the city of London!

Saturday, January 25th, 2014 – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm – Covent Garden Market
2014 Singathon!
• Our annual Singathon helps raise funds for the London Fanshawe Symphonic Chorus Organization.  Again at Covent Garden, the choir will be performing many of our favourite choral pieces, accompanied by Allison Wiebe.  We will have celebrity guest conductors along with our own conductor, David Holler

Saturday, March 1st, 2014 – 7:30 pm – First-St. Andrew’s Church
Song & Stage
• Fanshawe Chorus London will perform some of the greatest music from the Broadway stage in our second main concert of our season.  Guest artists will include yours truly, David Holler, and soprano Rachel Mallon from Western University.  The choir and soloists will sing selections from Cabaret, The King and I, The Sound of Music, Les Misérables, the hit TV show Smash!, and much more.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be begging for more!

Friday, April 18th, 2014 – 7:00 pm – First-St. Andrew's Church
Stabat Mater – Karl Jenkins
• This Good Friday Fanshawe Chorus London and the Concert Players Orchestra welcomes Hamilton’s Mohawk College Community Choir as they perform choral masterpieces by two of the pre-eminent composers of the 19th and 21st centuries – Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater and Johannes Brahms’ Nänie.  Our guest soloist for the Stabat Mater is mezzo-soprano Jennifer Enns-Modolo.  Allison Wiebe, pianist, is also featured with the Concert Players Orchestra performing Gerald Finzi’s Eclogue. 

Anything else you think our readers should know about Fanshawe Chorus London and its 2013/14 Season?

We are experimenting with a number of new formats for our concerts while trying to keep alive some of the best traditions of old!  Our Good Friday concert remains, but we are introducing the city of London to a piece that may be a Canadian premiere – Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater!  We are also excited to show our audiences a different musical side of this wonderful choir as we perform a concert of Broadway pieces at the beginning of March.  There is so much vocal talent here in town, and we are trying to set the gold standard of choral music in this great city!

Tickets for all of our concerts can be purchased at Centennial Hall, both online, http://www.centennialhall.london.ca/, or by phone, or the Chorus Ticket Hotline at (519) 433-9650. Tickets prices are $30/$25/$15 for Adult/Senior/Student.

For more information about Fanshawe Chorus London and its 2013/14 Season, visit www.choruslondon.com

Richard Young is the publisher/online editor of The Beat Magazine Online.



The Arts Project - Theatre
Palace Theatre / London Community Players present A Christmas Carol