Chor Leoni closes the season with pop music classics at St Andrew’s–Wesley United

The Chor Leoni Men’s Choir has impressed Vancouver audiences on numerous occasions, including its somber annual Remembrance Day concerts and its rich, spiritual songs at the VanMan Choral Summit. Now, to close out the season, the 67 men in the choir plan to let their hair down with a raucous show of popular music.

Pop capella II will feature songs by The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Cliff, A-ha, Irving Berlin, Indigo Girls and others.

“Often when choirs do this kind of program, maybe there’s a soloist up front and the choir does some ‘ooh’s’ and ‘aah’s’ as a backup,” Chor Leoni artistic director Erick Lichte tells the Straight ahead By phone. “We really don’t approach it that way. We do a lot of in-house arrangements. We’re really trying to record this music.”

So anyone eager to hear dozens of men joyfully sing Wonder’s “For Once in My Life” should be at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United on June 25, where Chor Leoni is the choir in residence.

The location will make this concert different from any other pop concert in the city, according to Lichte.

“We have those great acoustics,” he enthuses. “We also have the pipe organ.”

Lichte says this will be a real treat when the men Arcade Fire’s “Intervention” of the . to sing Neon Bible album.

Arcade Fire and The Weeknd aren’t the only Canadian connections in Popcappella II. There will also be songs by Tegan and Sara, Caribou and Jodi Proznick.

Proznick will also play bass as part of the band supporting Chor Leoni, along with percussionist Liam MacDonald and guitarist Keith Sinclair. Tim Woodford, the music director of St Andrew’s–Wesley United, will play the church’s recently restored Casavant organ.

Chor Leoni’s singers have decided to make this concert mask optional.

This means it is the first time since the start of the pandemic that the public will be able to see the faces of singers.

“That was a tough decision to make, but it’s one the choir wanted to do,” says Lichte. “We’ve been able to communicate with sound as the choir sings live, but this takes it to a completely different place. And I can’t think of better music than this to connect and see those faces.”

He adds that some performers will still wear masks, and the group is encouraging members of the public to wear them as well.

“We’ve all been vaxxed three times,” explains Lichte. “We rehearse with the masks on, but we’re taking that hour and 15 minutes to disperse the guys on stage.

“Luckily we have a huge stage that we can create in St Andrew’s,” he continues. “And really good ventilation is also something else.”

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