Journey Song captures sacred moments in time—the moments of personal journey one experiences in finding a place for their own “voice” in the all-encompassing Great Song of Life. Sewell’s imagery of untamed nature, light, and water parallel the joy, growth, and movement experienced in the journey of life. The isolation found in stillness and silence, reveals the reality that one’s voice may veer in unexpected directions, but, in the process, develops perspective and wisdom that ignites a hope to compel the journey forward. For me, contentment is found in acknowledging that the moments in the journey construct and illuminate the unique beauty of one’s voice—an enduring voice that is constantly and unintentionally contributing to the endless, interconnected harmonies of the Great Song. A heartfelt appreciation to Anna Marie Sewell, for her support and permission to set her poetry to music, and to the extraordinary voices of Babεl Choir in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and their director Dr. Elaine Choi, who have enabled my own creative journey to blossom. ~ Mari Alice Conrad April 2020
SATB a cappella
Performed by Babɛl Choir
November 2021, Toronto, Canada
Directed by Dr. Elaine Choi
Music by Mari Alice Conrad
Words by Anna Marie Sewell
Music published by Cypress Choral Music
Audio: Kai Leung
Video: Joshua Del Rosario
Mari Alice Conrad is an award-winning composer currently living in Alberta, Canada. Her works have been performed by various ensembles across Canada, United States, and Europe. Mari Alice specializes in writing concert works for chamber ensembles, choirs, soloists, and large ensembles in a variety of genres. Performances of her works have been presented at Ottawa Chamberfest, Vancouver’s Allegra Chamber Orchestra FestivELLE, Été musical de Barachois in New Brunswick, in the Žofín Palace for the World Wind Music Festival and WASBE Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Toronto’s East Chamber Music Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity EvoFest, New Music Edmonton Summer Solstice Festival, and the Toronto 2022 Choral Canada’s Podium Conference as the recipient of the Stephen Chatman Student Award in Choral Composition. Mari Alice’s compositional practice shines an exceptional light on the human condition and fosters curiosity, authenticity, connection, and collaboration, creating a compelling experience for both performers and audience alike. www.marialiceconrad.com
Anna Marie Sewell’s artistic practice centres collaborative projects at the intersections of culture, language, and modality, no doubt influenced by her pre- TRC upbringing in a defiantly mixed-race (Mi’gmaq/Anishinaabe/Polish) family. Edmonton’s 4th Poet Laureate (2011-13), she has toured widely as a poet, in Indigenous Theatre, and most recently, embarking upon a quest into the world of international, translation and adaptation rights, with trips to Frankfurt and London Book Fairs.
Ms. Sewell is also a cultural educator, co-recipient of the 2022 Principal’s Award for Curriculum Design at Queens University. And while 2019 – 20 Writer-in- Residence at MacEwan University, she began collaborating with choral composer Mari Alice Conrad; their works include Journey Song (Cypress Publishing 2022), and the Chatman Award winning At First Light, title piece for Exultate Choir’s upcoming album. Pro Coro will premiere their latest, Book of Songs, in Edmonton on May 14th.
Connect to Ms. Sewell’s written work through prairiepomes.com, via her poetry collections Fifth World Drum (Frontenac House 2009) and For the Changing Moon: Poems & Songs (Thistledown Press 2018), or via her debut novel, Humane (Stonehouse Publishing 2020).
Babεl is an SATB ensemble founded in 2018 by Dr. Elaine Choi to bridge choral music between Canada and China. A year later, the choir toured Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei, performing Canadian music and working with local choirs and schools. In addition to presenting concerts, Babεl has worked on innovative projects and performed with numerous artists including musicians from the Centre for Music Innovations, and The Tenors. Babεl launched the Choral Composers Mentorship Program in 2020 to help emerging composers develop new choral works, which were premiered by the choir. Most recently, Babεl presented a program of music by Asian and Asian diasporic composers to celebrate Asian Heritage Month, and participated in Canada's national choral conference, Podium 2022.
Elaine Choi contributes to Toronto's vibrant choral community as a conductor, educator, adjudicator, and collaborative pianist. She is Artistic Director at Pax Christi Chorale, Director of Music at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, Past President of Choirs Ontario and the conductor of the University of Toronto Soprano/Alto Chorus.