Photo: Mohamed Omar

International choral cooperation

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By Aidan Macnab

Ryerson’s Oakham House choir (OHC) will take the stage alongside 51 singers from Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, (KIT) this Saturday for an event called ‘Friends in Song.’

This trans-Atlantic choral collaboration is the product of a relationship that grew out of a joint masters program between Ryerson and KIT’s engineering faculties.

Norbert Eisenhaur, a professor of hydraulic engineering and hydro-mechanics from KIT, is responsible for bringing the two choirs together. He’s been with KIT’s choir for 36 years.

Two years ago, during a visit to Ryerson, Eisenhaur attended a Christmas concert put on by OHC and invited them to participate in a choir exchange.

OHC’s Director, Matthew Jaskiewicz says at that time, Eisenhaur’s plan seemed like an impossible task.

“But we worked hard and we put lots of time, effort, and energy into the project and here they are,” he said.

The plan was for KIT to come to Toronto, and later, for OHC to make the trip to Germany.  This weekend is half of the exchange, but Jaskiewicz says he is not sure that the other half will take place.

“It is going to cost a lot,” he says. “Without a big contribution… we won’t be able to go.”

Ryerson alumni, Claire Brascoupe has been singing in the OHC for six years. She says that her choir is “unique” among student groups, in that they offer an opportunity to hear some classical music.

“We’re students, alumni, professors and community members all coming together to sing, so it would be great if our fellow students could come out and see what we work on every week.”

 The show will feature music from Brahms, Mendelssohn, Cohen, Rutter, Gjello, Dvorak and Rheinberger. It will take place at St. Patrick’s Church, 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 27th at 131 McCaul Street. Admission is $15 at the door.

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