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December 20, 2014
 
 
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Laurier Singers to sing Britten’s War Requiem with Grand Philharmonic Choir

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Oct 16/13

The Laurier Singers, a Wilfrid Laurier University chamber choir, will perform with the Grand Philharmonic Choir (GPC) during GPC’s 2013-14 season opener Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. at the Centre in the Square in Kitchener. The event will be a rare performance of Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece, War Requiem.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra will accompany the 200-person choir, made up of the GPC and its Children and Youth Choirs, the Laurier Singers and the University of Waterloo’s Chamber Choir. Soloists Leslie Ann Bradley, Thomas Cooley and Russell Braun will join the choirs.

Britten, who was a pacifist, composed the War Requiem for the consecration of England’s new Coventry Cathedral in 1962 after the original building was destroyed in the Second World War. Britten’s music – both terrifying and heartbreaking – is combined with the familiar words of the Requiem Mass and the stark images of soldier-poet Wilfred Owen.

“This monumental work is a testament to the horrors of the Second World War, in particular, and the affliction of human conflict in general,” said Mark Vuorinen, artistic director and conductor of the GPC.

As the musical world celebrates Britten’s centenary year (he was born in 1913), nearly 100 performances of War Requiem are planned globally, but this event is the only Canadian performance.

“This is a profound statement of peace and justice that connects deeply with the values of our young singers,” said Lee Willingham, director of the Laurier Singers. “The privilege of performing this work is a life changing experience.”

Tickets for this performance range from $20 to $75, with $10 tickets available for those under 30 and $5 tickets available for high-school students. Tickets can be purchased from the Centre in the Square box office by calling 519-578-1570 or by visiting www.centreinthesquare.com.

The performance is being offered in conjunction with the 2013 Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) Conference, taking place Oct. 17-19 and co-hosted by Laurier and Conrad Grebel University College. The PJSA is the North American affiliate of the International Peace Research Association. The annual PJSA conference is hosted in Canada every three years. For further information, visit www.peacejusticestudies.org/conference.

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