The Unisong festival is an abbreviation for "United in Song", this being the entire purpose of the festival. We were one of 11 choirs from all over Canada who prepared 3 concerts for the general public to see at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Canada Day. The first three days of the festival were spent rehearsing as a massed choir under the direction of Gerald Fagan. Approximately 300 choristers prepared a program of 11 Canadian choral works which featured pieces from coast to coast.
The fourth day of the festival was Canada Day. The massed choir performed three free public concerts and was accompanied by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, directed by Pinchas Zuckermann. Most of the MHC girls had never seen such a large stage before, nevermind performing on one and it was a great honour and privilege to be able to sing with such a fantastic orchestra.
The MHC Girls Choir also had a few opportunities to do some singing just as our own group. We did a small set of pieces on the lobby stage of the National Arts Centre, shared an evening concert with another choir at a local church, and sang a small set of pieces in the rotunda of Parliament.
Throughout the week we had some opportunities to take in some great sights. After our rotunda concert we had a private tour of Parliament where we saw the House of Commons, the Senate, the Library, and more. We were also fortunate to have the opportunity to tour the Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec and check out the new water park, Calypso, nearby. In between our Canada concerts we were able to take in some of the sights and sounds of the party on Parliament Hill. There were many street vendors, buskers, concerts and crowds. The Queen was also on the hill, but we didn't manage to see her. Perhaps the highlight was the beaver tail we all ate at the end of the day.
The festival was not only a great opportunity to make some fantastic music, and to have some great experiences, but also to make some new friends. The Girls Choir became great friends with the Colorado Children's Chorale from Denver after eating breakfast with each other one morning. The kids exchanged contact info with each other and are now asking to make Denver our next choir tour destination.
We had a great trip. We will now break for summer and then start again in September just a little more experienced and educated than before!