Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Peace and harmony

Latest concert from Ottawa's Tone Cluster celebrates our common goals

Tone Cluster sings Christmas carols on a snowy Ottawa afternoon. Credit: Courtesy of Tone Cluster

In the month before the holidays it can be easy to get caught up in the minutiae of life. Christmas ads are starting to creep onto the airwaves, and with them comes the nagging feeling that you should really start your shopping. Add in whatever else life has to throw your way and suddenly it can seem like the whole world is working against you.  When things get like this we all need a little respite — and a reminder that we are, in fact, in this together. This is the sentiment behind Tone Cluster’s upcoming concert, Peace.

The Sunday afternoon show will feature songs with messages of peace and hope from around the world; it’s a reminder that whatever our circumstances, we all basically want the same thing.

“We decided to go with the peace theme this year because it’s kind of after Remembrance Day and we’ve done the Remembrance Day thing a few times, and it’s kind of before Christmas and we’ve done the Christmas thing a few times, and we wanted something that was a little bit more inclusive on the theme of peace,” says choir member Janel Goyette, who is also Tone Cluster’s outreach coordinator.

“It’s not just peace on Earth and lack of war and lack of fighting, but it’s kind of an inner peace and a peace that we can achieve with each other as well.”

In keeping with the spirit of goodwill toward humanity, the choir will be participating in a service for World AIDS Day on Dec 1 at Southminster United Church in The Glebe. While details are still being determined, this performance is another example of the choir’s commitment to positivity and hope. The World AIDS Day performance is a long-standing tradition for the choir and allows it to give back to the community while raising awareness about a disease that still affects millions of people worldwide.

“I really appreciate hearing other people’s experiences,” Goyette says. “There are so many different ones, and it’s inspiring to see the strengths and light that each person brings with their story, even in dark circumstances.”

For Peace, Tone Cluster will be teaming up with two other choirs: Harmonia and the Cross Town Youth Chorus.

“It’s useful to combine work with another artist,” says longtime choir member Sarah Wibberley. “It enables us to expose each other’s work to different audiences, to bring a different flavour into the concerts, and we like to support local artists.”

The repertoire for the concert is very multicultural, including the Buddhist Shanti; “Hevenu Shalom A’Leychem,” a Jewish Horah; and an Iraqi peace song that the choir learned to sing in Arabic. They will also be singing Stephen Hatfield’s “Rise and Fall,” part of an ongoing relationship with the Canadian composer.

“I just really want people to walk away from this concert feeling peaceful from our music,” Goyette says, “and also just knowing that we’re all in this together."