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A concert for the Prairies

February 17, 2017 — 

On Feb. 25, the stellar vocal faculty of the Desautels Faculty of Music will present the world premiere of “A Prairie Boy’s Life”, a new musical work by John Greer [BMus/76] that is based on William Kurelek’s [BA/49] two illustrated books A Prairie Boy’s Winter and A Prairie Boy’s Summer.

In this performance, supported in part by the Canada Council of the Arts, the U of M ensemble will explore prairie life in Manitoba through the eyes of a young Kurelek, who grew up on a farm north of Winnipeg in the middle of the twentieth century. Though much has changed since Kurelek’s youth, the essence of his Manitoban upbringing, often dominated by the weather and the cycle of the seasons, still resonates with today’s prairie dwellers of all ages.

The performance will take place at the Winnipeg Art Gallery at 7:30 p.m. (tickets available here) and it will feature singers Tracy Dahl, Monica Huisman, Donna Fletcher, Sarah Jo Kirsch, Rosemarie van der Hooft, Lois Watson-Lyons, Robert MacLaren, James McLennan, Mel Braun, and pianists Laura Loewen and John Greer.

Greer, a renowned member of Winnipeg’s musical community who lives and works in Toronto, takes inspiration from Canadian folk songs and prairie poetry, infusing them into inimitable and energetic arrangements. And on Feb. 24, prior to the U of M performance, Flipside Opera will present another concert of Greer’s works: “Greeriade”.

“Greeriade” offers a dynamic and close look at one of Canada great composers. It will be performed at the Canadian Mennonite University by sopranos Jessica Kos-Whicher and Judith Oatway, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Surdhar, tenor Aaron Hutton, baritone Matt Pauls, and pianists Laura Loewen and Lisa Rumpel who will present solo and ensemble works that range from the hilarious to the sublime.

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