Christmas Eve morning with Shelagh Rogers and Chor Leoni for CBC Radio's “Sounds Like Canada”
It was a special invitation to attend an intimate concert by Chor Leoni with Shelagh Rogers for CBC Radio's “Sounds Like Canada.”
CBC producer Cathy Hunt telephoned me a few days ago to invite me
saying it was for “special friends.” How could I refuse?
Well… the 6am start time on Christmas Eve morning was a major
deterent, as many friends I invited to join me passed on this rare
opportunity to have their hand claps heard across the nation.
Diane Loomer with Chor Leoni wearing their special Choir Hockey Jerseys – photo by Todd Wong
Chor Leoni is conducted and was co-founded by Diane Loomer,
who also conducts the Electra Women's Chorus. Many of the solos
were handled by Steve Maddock, whom I recognized from when he would
perform on with Julie Blue for Celebration of Life Centre
Sunday morning services. His wife Serie also performed a
beautiful solo of Silent Night in the original German, with the
Diane Loomer leading the audience in carol singing – photo by Todd Wong
The morning truly lived up to to the theme of “Grace” – chosen by
Shelagh Rogers, as she wove in the unique and sometimes inspiring
stories of some of the members of Chor Leoni. For instance, a
story about a former Chor Leoni member, now a doctor helping to
heal a Haida elder by singing a song in Haida. This led into
a rendition of Huron Carol. During a break, Shelagh
commented that time was just flying by, and that it always does
when things are going so well.
There was a short chat with a choir member who sailed around
the world spending Christmas in the middle of the Indian Ocean, which
led into Silent Night. And there was a chat with the two choir
members who are Lutheran ministers, which led into Amazing Grace.
And there was a particularly moving moment when Chor Leoni
performed their own version of the Leon Dubinsky song Rise Again, made popular by the Rankin Family, that was especially spiritual, afterwhich Shelagh reached for a kleenex and wiped tears from her eyes.
Heather and Michelle singing along to O Holy Night – photo by Todd Wong
Joining me in attending the rare chance to attend a
live-to-broadcast session of “Sounds Like Canada” were Michelle Siu and
Heather from Rice Paper, published by Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop
(I'm a vice-president). Michelle had just the night before been
working hard on the latest copy of Rice Paper Magazine trying her best
to ensure that an advertisment for Gung Haggis Fat Choy was included,
while at the same time, I was working hard with graphic designer Jamie Griffiths to finalize the 2005 GHFC poster.
Me and Shelagh Rogers “Full of Grace”- photo by Heather
During one of the breaks, Shelagh Rogers introduced me to the
audience and choir. “And we have Todd Wong with us this morning,
he is the creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a unique combination of
Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year Dinner that has grown into
something quite special, but you know that don't you Todd?” as I nodded
back to her.
“And Shelagh Rogers will be co-hosting with me, and that is going to
be real special,” I said after I answered that the dinner would be on
January 30th. “And here she is, already wearing a Chinese top,” a
lovely burgundy long sleeved Chinese style top knot-style buttons, with
graceful black skirt.
“And YOU will be wearing a KILT!” laughed Shelagh!
Ó 2004 Todd Wong