Friday, 07 January 2022

Ċirku9Ġrajja: An Unexpected End, But a Journey Nonetheless

by Daniela Grech Sultana

Had things gone to plan, and the entirety of our hard work borne fruit, we would be publishing this blog with a different tone. But life rarely goes to plan, and as the past two years have shown us, we are mere humans subject to fate and surrounded by an environment that we cannot really control. The only element left in our hands is how we react to a situation and the level of respect we show towards those around us.

As Schola Cantorum Jubilate, we feel blessed to have experienced two (out of a planned three) magical Christmas concerts with you all. Featuring 70 choristers and musicians, we presented a unique repertoire of Christmas classics, with choral pieces specifically arranged for the concerts, new compositions as well as experimentation with different instruments.

The first concert, Ċirku, featured SCJ soloists accompanied by the BrassTubes, with both the audience and musicians in an intimate, circular formation. The music and reflections helped the audience reflect on the circle of life and how every living organism, however tiny, has an impact on an ever-evolving world. Disgħa, featuring the SCJ Children’s Choir and the SCJ Teenage Boys Singers continued this reflective journey. Drawing inspiration from the British tradition of the Nine Lessons and Carols, the concert provided a platform for children to voice their observations on the world around them and for the audience to deeply reflect, immersed in music and the magnificence of the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary.

The third and final concert, Ġrajja, was to be the culmination of this journey, with a powerful rendition of the Magnum Mysterium and commemoration of the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Our choir and musicians mastered choral pieces by Kim Andersen, Lauridsen and Dan Forrest, among others. Despite our meticulous preparations, the concert was not meant to be. With a heavy heart, we accepted that cancelling the concert would be the safest option for us at SCJ, the many people working hard behind the scenes, the audience and the community at large.

While difficult to accept, we gained strength in the hope that we can return to live music in 2022 and focused instead on the many wonderful comments that flowed in after both Ċirku and Disgħa:

“Bravi, Bravi, Bravi. You all deserved the standing ovation. Brilliant performance, organisation and delivery. A perfect start to the true meaning of a holy Christmas. Heavenly indeed”

“Well done to all ...great performance which reflected a lot of hard work and dedication.... the grand piano gave that extra special touch.... definitely could feel the real Christmas spirit”

“It was an amazing evening. The Christmas spirit was really there. All of you did great.”

“Everyone was absolutely marvellous, and as always, I feel so privileged to be involved in such a brilliant production. Prosit to all.”

We take pride in the fact that SCJ’s concerts have once again been enthusiastically received, that our singers, including the youngest, enjoyed every little moment, and that we were blessed with an audience that truly appreciates the beauty and power of music. Thank you!

Allow us to take this opportunity to wish everyone a healthy 2022. Here’s to a better year, one where culture and the arts can flourish freely and again enthral audiences worldwide. We are hopeful for and look forward to many more opportunities where we can sing our song - happily and safely.

Ċirku9Ġrajja was brought to you in collaboration with the Cultural Heritage Directorate within the Ministry for Gozo.

Photos by Seized Moments Photography, (Chris Balzan)

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