Torch song

Soulstice a cappella (above) will take te stage along with Effusion a cappella at Montreal's Olympic torch relay event on Dec. 1. giving the gala a distinctly McGill sound. / Photo: Owen Egan
Soulstice a cappella (above) will take te stage along with Effusion a cappella at Montreal's Olympic torch relay event on Dec. 1. giving the gala a distinctly McGill sound. / Photo: Owen Egan

McGill a cappella choirs to headline Olympic event

By Neale McDevitt

As rivalries go, the ongoing turf war between Effusion a Cappella and Soulstice a Cappella – two of McGill’s three student-run a cappella choirs – is pretty friendly. They do their best to coordinate their respective audition and concert schedules so that they aren’t in direct competition with each other for singers or for an audience. More Jets vs. Sharks than Hatfield-McCoy – without the switchblades and zip guns, of course.

And, to further illustrate the point that music brings the world together, the two groups will be joining forces on Dec. 10 to sing at the official event in Old Montreal marking the arrival of the Olympic torch to our fair city during its 45,000-km cross-Canada journey to Vancouver. The combined choir will

perform There’s a Light, written by Quebec’s own Gregory

Charles especially for the Olympic Torch Relay.

“There was a whole audition process,” said Daniel Mills, music director of Soulstice a Cappella. “We sent in our demos and, a few weeks later, found

out that we were selected along with Effusion.”

And while both choirs are busy preparing for their respective end-of-year concerts, they’ve added an extra rehearsal per week to perfect their performance together. Essentially doubling in size for the torch event, the combined choir will have to work out the change in dynamics. “There will be close to 40 people on stage, so it will be completely different”

said Michael Dyck, the music director for Effusion. “Plus, we will be backed up by instruments so it really isn’t a cappella

anymore.”

And, of course, there is the choreography. “It isn’t very complex,” said Dyck with a laugh, “but Effusion isn’t known for our choreography. This will be a good challenge.”

The Olympic torch inspires – and not only athletes. Both Mills and Dyck have high hopes for the event and the stage it will provide for their respective choirs. “The organizers are hoping to attract several thousand people,” said Mills, noting that that doesn’t include the television audience, “so this will definitely be our biggest concert. Sharing the spotlight with the Olympic torch is a pretty big deal.”

“Deep down, I’m hoping that this is a springboard for bigger things for us,” said Effusion’s Dyck. “We are a great group and we put on great shows, but

mostly within the McGill community. There is no reason why we couldn’t be big on the Montreal scene.”

For more info about the Olympic Torch Relay, go to www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-torch-relay/. For more info about Effusion and Soulstice, including times and dates of their respective year-end concerts, go to www.effusion.ca/ orĀ  www.soulsticeacappella.com