CHOIR PRACTICE: A Comic Opera in One Act
Music by Stephen Chatman / Words by Tara Wohlberg
University of British Columbia Opera Ensemble / Nancy Hermiston, director
Members of University of British Columbia Symphony Orchestra / Jonathan Girard, conductor

« Stephen Chatman, well familiar with the milieu, and his writing partner Tara Wohlberg exaggerate the dynamic hysterically in this one-act opera, premiered and recorded at the University of British Columbia. […] Simple, unabashed fun and slapstick entertainment. «  – Dianne Wells, The WholeNote

« Choir Practice’s overriding theme is the transformative power of music; it makes its point through a dialectical mix of materials encompassing a wide range of musical and comedic ideas. » – David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun

« Choir Practice is a tiny wonder, a scintillating and effervescent one act romp. Stephen Chatman’s music is light and playful, consistent with the frolicsome fabric of the proceedings. Wohlberg’s crystalline and original libretto…carry the day. » – Kate Mackin,

Synopsis: In a community hall in Vancouver, circa 1985, a somewhat motley blend of characters arrive for choir rehearsal. There’s Dawn, a blind woman, who sees more than most. Corey, a shy and stuttering tenor keen to join the choir who soon attracts the eye of a curvaceous soprano. Warm-ups, roll call and plenty of comic conflicts ensue as a dozen singers prepare for a national competition. Willie is the well-intentioned director, but his most successful conquests to date are anything but musical – in fact they rival those of Don Giovanni! After various interruptions and a near-fatal duel between rival sopranos, a miracle takes place. The individuals are magically melded into a choir and a world of light, harmony, understanding, and musical perfection. Dawn leads the way in the rousing Finale: Darkness to Delight. Through all the nonsense and Hanky Panky, things come round right!

Stephen Chatman, C.M., D.M.A., is one of Canada’s most frequently performed composers. In both 2010 & 2012, he was honoured with Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award, given to a SOCAN composer for outstanding success in the Canadian music industry, in recognition of the many publications, public performances and radio-play of his works. Dr. Chatman is Professor of Composition at the University of British Columbia School of Music and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2012. His catalogue includes more than 100 works and some 500,000 printed copies released by sixteen publishers. Many of his choral works have entered the standard repertory. In addition to the present project, further Centrediscs recordings of Dr. Chatman’s very popular music include Magnificat with the UBC University Singers and Symphony Orchestra; A Chatman Christmas with UBC University Singers; choral collections performed by the Vancouver Chamber Choir (Due North, Due West, and Due East; a chamber music collection, Vancouver Visions; and further choral, orchestral and instrumental collections.

1 Opening – My first rehearsal 5:43
2 Aria: He has only just arrived 2:50
3 Isn’t my Marilyn talented? 10:47
4 Aria: Not that kind of song 2:14
5 You made your point 8:49
6 The Grand Hotel 1:31
7 Before I choose the soloist 1:03
8 Duet: Ladies’ Duel 2:24
9 I don’t know what’s wrong with you 6:59
10 Fantasy Time – Dawn’s Miracle 2:59
11 Aria: Seeing is believing 3:11
12 The spell is broken 5:11
13 Aria/Duet: Hanky-Panky 3:00
14 What a transformation! 1:25
15 Finale Darkness to Delight 3:17
16 Applause

Total time: 61:08