Eventful festive season for Gaulitanus Choir
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Eventful festive season for Gaulitanus Choir

The Gaulitanus Choir performing at St Francis Church, Victoria.

The Gaulitanus Choir performing at St Francis Church, Victoria.

For Gozo’s Gaulitanus Choir, the past festive season was quite busy, with three concert tours abroad. Still, the choir ensured that it played its part in adding colour to the local scene with an intensive programme of events. 

Its first commitment was taking part in the Malta International Christmas Choir Festival, organised by the Regjun Tramuntana in collaboration with Leon Promotions. The festival included the participation of a number of foreign and local choirs.

The choir also participated in an event held at the Nativity of Our Lady parish church in Mellieħa alongside the St Julian’s Choral Group (Malta), the Hungarian Starlight Youth and Adult Choirs, the Corale Polifonica ‘Libere Armonie’ (Italy) and the Mixed Choir of Levadia ‘Erkyna’ (Greece).

The choir was also involved in a number of carolling sessions in Gozo, at the Arkadia Shopping Arcade, the Calypso Hotel and at the Kempinski San Lawrenz on Christmas Eve.

It then participated in an event entitled Trail of Voices, organised by the Gozo Ministry. This event featured five Gozitan choirs performing in five churches in Victoria in four 20-minute performances repeated every half hour.

The choir ushered in the new year with its very own seventh edition of A New Year’s Toast. Held at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, the programme was divided into several parts: the first consisting of a Christmas medley, the second dedicated to British a cappella part songs, and the third to Maltese semi-folkloristic numbers, including a sing-along from Mary Poppins, which had the audience roar with enthusiasm.

On Epiphany Sunday, the choir organised the Miriam Gauci Master Class Concluding Concert at the Exhibition Hall of the Gozo Ministry. This featured several upcoming singers from the US, Australia, the UK, Belgium, Italy, Malta and Gozo. All the performers were accompanied by the pianist-in-residence Julia Miller. The vocal master class opened the 13th edition of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music. The master class also featured a live painting by British artist Thalia Stones, who depicted watercolour paintings of all participants.

The Gaulitanus Choir’s festive programme came to an end on January 11 with a concert at the Russian Centre for Science and Culture (RCSC) in Valletta, courtesy of its director, Alexei Muraviev, and cultural co-ordinator, Paul Fenech. In addition to songs performed at its January 1 concert in Gozo, the choir also included a few numbers from the Russian tradition, also using Russian language. The evening was well received and augurs well for a healthy collaboration between the choir and the RCSC.

Throughout all events, the choir was conducted by Mro Colin Attard and accompanied on the piano by Stephen Attard. The events also featured the choir’s soloists, as well as Annabelle Zammit as principal soloist, Anna Bonello and mezzo-soprano Marthese Borg. Stephanie Portelli, Joseph Calleja, Jean Noel Attard and Robert Xerri also joined in for a few solo lines.

The choir is currently preparing for its 13th edition of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, which runs from March 8 to April 7, reaching its climax with the operatic production of Puccini’s masterpiece, Manon Lescaut, April 6, with Malta’s international diva Miriam Gauci in the title role.

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