In the blink of an eye, the lazy summer days come to an end and it’s time for another arts season packed with great music, amazing artists and — as usual for Winnipeg — a cornucopia of concerts from which to pick and choose from. Here are my top 10 choices (listed in chronological order) from now until that white stuff hits the ground:

Your (Irish) roots are showing! Camerata Nova presents Dowland in Dublin, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m., at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church featuring Montreal-based early music group La Nef, with guest tenor Michael Slatter. This a capella vocal ensemble never ceases to surprise; its latest choral venture transplants Renaissance composer John Dowland’s refined lute songs to a gritty 16th-century Irish pub. Tickets or more information: www.cameratanova.com

The Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society presents the sublime artistry of Grammy-nominated musician Paul Galbraith, Saturday, Oct. 11, 8 p.m., at the Planetarium Auditorium. For tickets, call 204-667-5250, or check out: www.winnipegclassicalguitarsociety.com

The Winnipeg Singers kicks off its 42nd season with Psalm and Song: Choral Music of Jewish Composers on Sunday, Oct. 19, 3 p.m., at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. The program features the Canadian première of Songs in A Time of War by Winnipeg’s Sid Robinovitch as well as Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, among others. Tickets available at McNally Robinson Booksellers, at the door, or by calling 204-944-9100. For more information: www.winnipegsingers.com

The venerable Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, founded in 1922 and Western Canada’s longest established choir, joins forces with local Icelandic choir Sòlskrkjan Kòr, in Nordic Sagas, Sunday, Oct. 26, 3 p.m., at Westminster United Church. Included as part of the WSO’s weeklong Nordic Festival being held Oct. 24-31, the program showcases special guest soprano Tracy Dahl and tenor/narrator P.J. Buchan performing music from the land of ice and snow. For tickets, call 204-896-7445 or purchase at the door. Details: winnipegphilharmonicchoir.ca/13/

The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra scores again when conductor/violinist Scott Yoo returns to its podium, Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Westminster United Church at 7:30 p.m. The all-string orchestra concert features Sir Hubert Parry’s An English Suite as well as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, plus a world première by Winnipeg composer Randolph Peters. For tickets, visit www.themco.ca or purchase at the door.

After spending years on the back (piano) bench performing with popular singer-songwriter Steve Bell, Mike Janzen gets the spotlight in the WSO pops show Reimagining Broadway, which also stars Canadian chanteuse Sarah Slean, Nov. 7-9, at the Centennial Concert Hall. The dynamo jazz pianist/composer/arranger blew the roof off last year with his sneak-peek rendition of Chim Chim Cheree and this show promises more. For ticket information, see: www.wso.ca or call the WSO box office: 204-949-3999.

Virtuosi Concerts adds its own voice to the numerous tributes being made worldwide to mark the solemn centenary of the “war to end all wars” with The Great War: 1914-1918, Saturday, Nov. 8, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 9, 3 p.m. at the University of Winnipeg’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall. The emotional climax of the program promises to be Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, with each of its six movements dedicated to a friend who perished in battle. For tickets: call 204-786-9000 or see www.virtuosi.mb.ca.

The Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg presents local soprano Sarah Kirsch on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2 p.m., at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The gifted vocalist recently won top prize at the 37th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Competition with her prize package including a month-long, 10-city Canadian tour that stops here. Tickets available at McNally’s, or at the door. See http://womensmusicalclubofwpg.ca.

Also noteworthy, Manitoba Opera presents the local première of Beethoven’s sole opera, Fidelio, at the Centennial Concert Hall, November 22-28. The epic work, which celebrates courage in the face of tyranny, is one of the many artistic offerings being made this year to commemorate the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Watch for Winnipeg-born soprano Lara Secord-Haid, who marks her debut with the 42-year old company as Marcellina. Tickets: www.manitobaopera.mb.ca or call 204-944-8824.

Get into the festive spirit when the WSO presents a community sing-along of Handel’s Messiah, Friday, Dec. 12 (note earlier start time: 7:30 p.m.). Or, for those who prefer to just listen, renowned conductor and founding director of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir Ivars Taurins leads guest soloists with the Canadian Mennonite University Chorus and orchestra the following night, Saturday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. For tickets, see: www.wso.ca or call the WSO box office: 204-949-3999
And there you have it, folks! Enjoy the music and see you in two weeks.

By HOLLY HARRIS
Winnipeg Free Press – September 10,2014
holly.harris@shaw.ca