Halifax 1917 - From Dreams to Despair
Start date: 15 January, 2017
End date: 31 March, 2017
Halifax, 1917: From Dreams to Despair will take our audience back to the Halifax of 1917. Through music, the drama and day-to-day life of the city during WWI will come alive in this portrait of the year preceding the great Explosion. The church, the concert hall, patriotic tunes and military music sustained a population struggling with the effects of war, who had no idea of the imminent disaster facing them. With special guests, Halifax’s Rhapsody Quintet, we will pay tribute to the place of music in the life of our city in this pivotal year, culminating with the new work created by Chris Palmer. We will present a year in the life of Halifax prior to the Explosion, with an emphasis on the music of the day, including a portrait of the various types of entertainment on offer and performances that Haligonians attended or presented: choral concerts, patriotic songs, operetta presentations at the many local theatres, vaudeville acts, and church services.
Our year in the life of Halifax will touch on some highlights of the year, such as for example – a Dominion Day concert in the Bandstand of the Halifax Public Gardens (July, 1917 was the 50th anniversary of the Dominion), the women’s suffrage movement, a church service in Africville, etc. Halifax Camerata Singers will create this portrait with Halifax’s versatile ensemble, Rhapsody Quintet (Violin, Cello, Bass, Clarinet, Piano) and a narrator/actor (Jeremy Webb) who will set the stage for the musical performances. The show will culminate with the new original composition, Halifax: 1917, created for Halifax Camerata Singers and Rhapsody Quintet by Halifax composer, Christopher Palmer. Mr. Palmer is well known as Assistant Principal Bassoonist in Symphony Nova Scotia and a recently named Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre.
This piece will portray the unimaginable impact and destruction on the city, through use of texts carefully selected by our Artistic Director, Jeff Joudrey, from Explosion sources such as local newspapers of the day, historic records and fiction such as Warden of the North, Shattered City, The Town that Died, etc. Following this dramatic new work, we will end the performance with a hymn/prayer, allowing the audience a few moments to collect their thoughts before leaving the theatre. We have booked First Baptist Church on Oxford Street for this concert; however, another potential venue is in the new Halifax Central Library (who have expressed great interest in our event). The date will be Saturday, March 25, 2017. We will promote the concert through print materials and advertising, as well as social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, our website).
Nature of the Project Reach
We are hoping that we will be able to film the project and share it beyond Nova Scotia; we also think that this may become part of an annual event through Halifax Public Libraries.
To share the story of the Halifax Explosion and its impact on the city of Halifax; to bring this history to a wider audience through music.
We are looking for partnerships with a film production company or funds to film the project.