Monday, 22 May 2017

SCJ Blooming

by Rob Ricards

In her final presentation, Clara Sciberras hoped that we had enjoyed a butterfly Spring with Schola Cantorum Jubilate. We most certainly had. This was the second edition of Blooming, with the wonderful Schola Cantorum Jubilate. The choir is second-to-none, with a growing international reputation and captivated its audience today, with so many beautifully chosen pieces.

We, the audience, had been requested to dress in pastel colours and to a large extent we complied. There was the odd poppy in our pastel garden, which only served to enhance the floral arrangement. The choir, too, chose pastel shades and was led by the inimitable Marouska Attard in a fetching pale blue dress. Marouska's gleaming smile belies the disciplinarian who must lie behind it, as only a devoted musician could achieve such a glorious sound.

Marouska had her own single, solo song. A brave piece for any modern audience, but a joy for open minded, musically conscious, lyrically appreciative people. ‘Farfett’ was a poem written by Francesco Pio Attard and composed by Maltese rising star, Euchar Gravina. With its unusual patterns, the song was spellbinding and exquisitely performed. Accompanied by Amy Rapa on piano and danced by Clara Sciberras it was a memorable part of proceedings.

That is not to say that the whole of the afternoon was memorable. There was as much variety as humanly possible: the choir sang as a whole, then as a female choir, then as a men's. From its ranks there came a tenor and, of course, the conductor herself sang soprano. The chosen songs, all on a countryside theme, were Italian, French, Latin, English and Maltese and spanned the musical spectrum.

The entire entertainment was held together by Clara Sciberras, presenter par excellence, who charmed us all with her verve and sheer personality. In the superb setting of the Ta’ Frenċ Courtyard, decorated with flowers, butterflies had been the subject of the afternoon and, after the last song, Clara released a few Swallowtail butterflies into the audience. Appropriately, one of them clung to the hem of Marouska's dress as everybody took their bows. The evening was over... but not quite. There was an encore and the choir once again sang ‘Stodola Pumpa’.

In my head, I'm singing it still:
Stodola, stodola, stodola pumpa
Stodola pumpa,
Pum, pum, pum.....


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