AGO Friday Nights: nostalgia and newchoir

AGO Friday Nights: nostalgia and newchoir

Jenna Simeonov

At the Art Gallery of Ontario, February is all about the 1960s and ‘70s. Luckily, Schmopera has a soft spot for The Beatles (who doesn’t?), Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Guess Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, that whole gang of awesome music-makers.

As part of AGO Friday Nights, Toronto’s first rock choir, newchoir, is giving three more concerts in Walter Hall, pairing music of the ‘60s and ‘70s with two exciting exhibits at the gallery this month: SuperReal: Pop Art from the AGO Collection and A New Look: 1960s and ‘70s Abstract Painting at the AGO.

I caught the first of newchoir’s Friday Nights concerts, and it’s a perfect icing on the cake for your gallery experience. They offered up hits by CCR, The Guess Who (who share their Winnipeg hometown with newchoir pianist Donovan LeNabat), Elvis, and Pink Floyd. The choir is full of enthusiastic amateurs, the kind of ensemble that makes for excellent people watching; I always love looking at the individuals that make up a choir, and how you can see all the different reasons that they’re there.

Nostalgia goes a long way with this kind of music, and I thought they had some really beautiful arrangements; plus, LeNabat properly rocked out on the piano, and conductor Robin Williams was a ball of energy. Newchoir was pared down from its full, 120-voice strong ensemble, but you can’t really beat the acoustics of Walter Hall.

The AGO Friday Nights concerts are comfy and pleasant, with cocktail seating, wine and tapas, and a gorgeous, airy space in which to hear an hour of music and unwind. The concerts are included with general admission to the gallery, each Friday night at 7:30pm.

You can hear newchoir at the AGO on February 12, 19, and 26. Click here to find out more.

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