The Valley Festival Singers present concerts in Abbotsford on Nov. 11 and 12 in recognition of Remembrance Day.

The Valley Festival Singers present concerts in Abbotsford on Nov. 11 and 12 in recognition of Remembrance Day.

Valley Festival Singers present two ‘In Remembrance’ concerts

All-Canadian program takes place Nov. 11 and 12 in Abbotsford

The Valley Festival Singers present a Remembrance concert on Nov. 11 and 12 in Abbotsford.

The concert, titled In Remembrance, takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Bakerview Church (2285 Clearbrook Rd.) and at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Calvin Presbyterian Church (33911 Hazelwood Ave.).

All of the music for this concert has been written or arranged by Canadians. Many of the texts – notably, In Flanders Fields, Tabula rasa, and several sections of the Requiem – have also been written by Canadians.

B.C. composers are particularly well-represented: Wendy Bross Stuart, Tim Corlis, Rupert Lang, Diane Loomer, Don Macdonald, Larry Nickel, and Jon Washburn.

The well-known poem In Flanders Fields has been set to music many times, and the Valley Festival Singers have chosen two versions to interject among three pieces taken from the liturgical Christian tradition.

Allister MacGillivray’s Song for Peace and Don Macdonald’s “Tabula rasa” are particularly personal in their use of imagery related to home and family relationships.

Jon Washburn’s “Dona nobis pacem” employs a well-known melody that serves as a background for the word “peace” to be spoken in nearly 40 different languages.

The second half of the program features an unaccompanied Requiem by Toronto composer Eleanor Daley.

This work has become one of the most important large-scale Canadian choral works in the repertoire, and it uses both Biblical texts and poetry by Canadian Carolyn Smart and American Mary Elizabeth Frye.

It is a work that speaks comfort to those of us who have lost loved ones.

Valley Festival Singers are conducted by Dr. Joel Tranquilla, director of choral activities at Trinity Western University, where he coaches six choirs and teaches courses within the School of Arts, Media and Culture.

He also conducts other community choirs, and is in high demand as an adjudicator and clinician across Canada.

Betty Suderman, accompanist, obtained her doctorate of musical arts from UBC. She is in demand as a solo performer and accompanist in many countries throughout the world, and has accompanied the Valley Festival Singers for more than 40 seasons.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $5 for students (free for kids 10 and under) and can be purchased at House of James, online at or at the door.