June 5th, 2015 – Surrey, British Columbia – The Vancouver-based MGV Lyra German Men’s Choir will be hosting the 40th North Pacific Singing Festival in Surrey this year. Eight choirs, with more than 280 singers, will be participating. The choirs include German and Austrian mixed and men’s choirs from British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. The concert will culminate with a mass choir performance involving all participating singers.
Coinciding with this year’s Sängerfest, the hosting Vancouver-based MGV Lyra Choir will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Their conductor is Ben Ewert, who studied choral music at both Trinity Western and Cambridge University in England. Ewert’s long-term goal is to revitalize the Canadian choral scene and infuse it with youthful vibrancy.
Events such as the Sängerfest provide entertainment of significant cultural value and seek to uphold the noble tradition of German Song, which is, and will always be, part of the Austrian and German collective heritage. It is also an opportunity to celebrate and share German culture with a broad audience and build new connections within the community. The Lyra Choir is always happy to welcome new singers of all ages, and especially invites young people to be a part of this century old German Tradition.
This year’s program includes songs by well-known classical artists, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Hadyn and Richard Wagner. The prelude will be performed by local band “Edelweiss Musikanten” under the leadership of Karl Schindler, while the final song will be the famed Hallelujah Chorus by Georg Friedrich Handel. Audience members will even be able to sing along to a well-known folk song named “Kein Schoener Land in dieser Zeit.”
The first festival was held in 1902 when choirs from the Pacific Northwest met in Seattle. From 1902 on, festivals were held either annually or every other year until 1936. After a pause during the difficult years of WW II, German choirs resumed their activities and reunited in 1952 to celebrate their first post-war and 15th Song Festival in Seattle, Washington. Since then, festivals have been held every two to three years, making the Society over 100 years old.
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