Laurier musicians garner Grammy nomination

It has been suggested that every instrument ever created is derived from and inspired by the human voice.

The truth in this idea becomes a formidable testament to raw human ability upon listening to the Elora Festival Singers. Their Grammy-nominated record entitled Eric Whitacre: Choral Music draws upon the seemingly bottomless potential of the choral tradition.

The singers are lead by conductor and Laurier alumnus Noel Edison. Edison founded the choir in 1980 and was once in charge of Laurier’s choral program.

Laurier music professor Leslie De’Ath and instructor Carol Bauman also accompany the group on the record.

Nominated for Best Small Ensemble Performance, the Elora Festival Singers along with Edison, De’Ath and Bauman will be among fourteen other Canadians nominated for Grammy Awards including Neil Young, Drake and Arcade Fire.

“It’s really a nod to the influence of the choir,” said De’Ath, referring to his work with the Elora Festival Singers.

De’Ath’s involvement as a pianist and Bauman’s involvement as a percussionist are the only exceptions the record makes in which instruments are used — the remaining tracks are strictly unaccompanied choral compositions.

The Elora Festival Singers are a professional ensemble comprised of twenty fully dedicated vocalists.

Signed to Naxos, an international classical music label, they have recorded nearly a dozen albums featuring various material ranging from Christmas songs to classical music.
In 1992, the Elora Festival Singers became their own independent organization, performing year round, garnering worldwide acclaim.

They have been working with and have become an integral part of Toronto’s Mendelssohn Choir and the Mendelssohn singers. They return to Elora for the festival of their origin for four weeks each summer.

De’ath expresses a sincere love for choir and an appreciation for its rich history.

“Choral music has been around many hundreds of years. In fact music probably started out as choral music,” he suggested in an interview with The Cord.

When asked what in particular would prompt a musician to work strictly with choral music, forsaking the instrumental advances of modernity, De’ath replied, “for a love of choirs. That may sound a little simplistic, but it’s a love for the sound.”

The Elora Festival Singers along with Edison, De’ath and Bauman, are among five other collectives nominated for Best Small Ensemble.

The Grammy awards, doubtlessly the most glamorous celebration of music prestige in North America, will be held on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles.

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