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A Sunday for the Senses

1ddc72c7-739e-4373-a76b-9ab1b6f53e6fOK, so I’m nuts about the Spiritus Chamber Choir. And Tim Schantz – whom I consider to be a great gift to Calgary. And now the Bella Concert Hall at MRU – pictured above.

First, the last. Mount Royal University is coming into its own. In 1971, we toured the brand new campus of – then – Mount Royal College. Designed by Stevenson, Raines and Partners, the new campus, dropped into the vast and close in former Commonwealth air training field called Currie Barracks, was a conception realized on a grand scale that made a statement. “We have arrived”. The Community College emerging out of a concatenized hovel at the west end of downtown: suddenly, it was something!

Now it has become – something else…. A university. MRU has graduated. And with the Taylor family’s gift of a glorious centrepiece, the Bella Hall in honor of Bella Sherwood Taylor, it has really arrived.

I mean, just look at it! Crafted of fine wood, the hall just envelopes you and uplifts. The ovoid space of ascending motifs warms you for what’s to come. The gorgeous shapely sound baffles ceiling from a flowery origin to a spacecraft emergence taking your eye skyward. I walked down from the balcony, hand skimming the ochre railing. Not a seam. Flawless. A tribute to the crafts who rendered it.

And Spiritus. To be heard in this concert hall. Go ahead, listen to them.!/blogs/2013/7/Spiritus-Chamber-Choir-dominates-2013-National-Competition-for-Canadian-Amateur-Choirs- 20 years on an ascending track. Finer and finer, more and more polished, without ever losing their ability to captivate an audience. The Arvo Part Te Deum. The Vivaldi Gloria. Then the Benedicite by former choir member Zachary Wadsworth.

Not many are used to the modern-ish music of Part – but it feels eternal. The centuries-old Gloria was so resonant, so round, no edges. And the last – when you expected a throwaway – a pinpoint finale taking the spirit to new heights.

All the product of Tim Shantz. Tim leads Spiritus – and Luminous Voices – and the Calgary Phil Chorus. What a force of nature. Tim consistently pulls out of – willing – ensembles, greatness that is transcendent. At the end of the Part piece, he held his conducting arms up a full minute, so as to hold in space and time the spell he had cast. Then, the audience erupted.

Tim has dedicated his life to bringing these great works right home to us – using the most unassuming vehicles- these huge hearts harnessed into vocal ensembles. Leaders take note. This is what you’re trying to do. Pull resonance from a disparate group essentially volunteers. When you can see more than they can, and pull them to the realization of something they never could have rendered on their own – then we have something. That is true leadership, from a viewpoint of mastery, and that is what Tim brings.

Bravo, all! Sunday for the senses – encore, encore!

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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