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the music
Most of Elektra Women's Choir's concert repertoire was written specifically for women or children's voices. Transcriptions of mixed choir repertoire are a rarity, as one of the things we are trying to do is demonstrate that there is quality repertoire available for treble choirs. Because of the wealth of wonderful children's and youth choirs in the world right now, we often perform pieces that were first written for these choirs, although we do find that some texts are not suitable for adults. We also enjoy exchanging repertoire ideas with other women's choirs around the world. Elektra sings sacred and secular music with equal enthusiasm.

One of Elektra's trademarks is the performing of the simplest music (even unison) as well as very demanding pieces. We try not to judge the potential success, or even the difficulty of a piece by the complexity of the divisi. Partly to break down the stereotype that a women's choir will always sound the same, we usually program a wide variety of textures on any one concert, usually including approximately 50% a cappella music. We try to find the core tonal quality that the piece demands, and encourage our singers to experiment with the colour and the emotional content of the sound. The result is that many people find Elektra's music very moving, whether it be a motet or a folk song.

In choosing voices for the choir, we look for first sopranos who can float effortlessly from F on up, and whose tone and vibrato remain flexible on top. The second soprano section tends to be where the more colourful voices live. In the first alto, we are looking for a solid core tone in the ninth between C and D. As anyone with a women's choir knows, the second altos are often called upon to sing much lower much more often than in a mixed choir, so we only place singers there who are comfortable in the low range. All singers in the choir must be able to produce an even, well-tuned and attractive sound throughout their range. As a result, unison can be a stunning experience!

We start each season with a carefully mapped-out divisi list that shows each of our approximately 40 singers what part to sing in 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8-part music. When we perform SSA, we usually divide the choir into three equal parts. If anything, we will have slightly more singers on the bottom end than the top.

Elektra has commissioned and premiered many works by Canadian composers. Some of these are featured on our "Legacy" CD. None of these pieces is absolutely simple to learn, but a high school or community choir should be able to find something appropriate, among them, for their own abilities. If you have any questions about any of this music, please feel free to contact us at elektrawomen@yahoo.ca.


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