With Wine Comes Singing at Knox Presbyterian

Cum Vino Cantus: With Wine Comes Singing
Image from Cum Vino Cantus’ website

by Carey Rutherford

I’m on the phone outside of the restaurant at 11:30 on a Saturday night. “Your grill is still running? Great. Look, I’m coming in but I’ve got visual limitations, so I could use some help getting to my seat.”
“Oh,” says the staff member who is apparently looking out through the window, “I thought I recognized you. I’ll be right out.”

I’ve been here before.

I know it’s a late start to the night, but I’d hoped to catch the last set of Front Porch Acoustic and have a beer and snack, but the darned band eludes my grasp for the third time in a row. Crap! I wandered hazardously through the darkened streets and don’t even get to hear the live tunes I crave. But the waitress, who apparently helped me here before, proves to be a silver lining in this cloud. Taylor’s more of a musician than the band I’ve missed.

Not only has she just finished her time with a U of C jazz ensemble, but she also participates in a brass ‘choir’ and Cum Vino Cantus, a chorale group formed to “bring together adult non-professional choir “enthusiasts” twice a month.

I’ll admit, it sounds like a bunch of amateurs getting together in a community hall every couple of weeks to sing church hymns, but it is far more than that. If you don’t believe me, check out their website or FaceBook site. There are samples of works they’ve performed in the past, and they’ve even got a CD coming out soon. Check out their participation in a Remembrance Day memorial concert on YouTube or their own website.

“Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. . . . is the result of a special millennial commission from Britain’s Royal Armouries.” Cum Vino Cantus and others perform the Sanctus from this modern mass, and it’s stunning.

“The name means something like ‘With Wine Comes Singing’,” Taylor tells me. Every practice is punctuated with a glass of wine in the middle (for lubrication of the vocal cords, I assume), Most of the performers have had other musical careers: many are from youth groups whom they have outgrown. The result is a lot people who REALLY like singing, and are actually quite good at it. Give them Artistic Director Jean-Louis Bleau to make sure they’re on the right track, and the result is beautiful.

If you’re free tonight, you can check them out live:

What: Wine and Song 2010
When: Saturday, May 1st, 2010 @ 7:30 pm
Where: Knox Presbyterian Church, Calgary
Cost: $15 which includes TWO wine tastings and some h’or d’oeuvres.
Who: All ages are welcome, however wine will only be served to attendees of legal age.

Buy your tickets at the door, and enjoy the spirits.