Elektra Women's Choir announces major new commission inspired by The Lost Words: A Spell Book

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      The Elektra Women's Choir has commissioned a major new composition inspired by the best-selling illustrated book The Lost Words: A Spell Book.

      Local talents Rodney Sharman, Katerina Gimon, Stephen Smith, and Ramona Luengen are four of the 10 Canadian composers who will help bring the ambitious new choral work to life.

      The choir will premiere it in Vancouver on May 6 and 7 next year, with a second performance scheduled in Nelson on June 13, 2020. The concerts will include large-screen projections of the vivid paintings of flora and fauna from the book.

      The 2017 book by author Robert Macfarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris was an artful response to the Oxford Junior Dictionary that was released in 2007. Sharp-eyed readers had noticed the dictionary, used widely in schools, had replaced 40 words about the natural world—adder, willow, kingfisher—with words about the digital one taking their place (think voice mail and cut-and-paste).

      Macfarlane has written “spells” meant to conjure back 20 of the lost creatures and plants in the lives of children, complemented by Morris's evocative paintings. The Lost Words: A Spell Book is now a bestseller, with accompanying educational materials developed by the John Muir Trust.

      In Elektra's concerts, an actor will read each "spell", and a small ensemble of instrumentalists will accompany the choir.

      Each of the 10 composers will create the music for two "spells". Along with the Vancouver-area composers, the participants are B.C.'s Ryan Kelly and Don MacDonald, the Northwest Territories' Carmen Braden, Ontario's Alex Eddington, Quebec's Marie-Claire Saindon, and Louisiana-based Monica Pearce.

      Single tickets go on sale here on October 1.

      The Kingfisher, one of Jackie Morris's vivid illustrations for the book The Lost Words, depicting a creature unceremoniously excised from the Oxford Junior Dictionary in 2007.