Cantata Choir Preparing for Performances – March 24 Tobermory, March 29 Lion’s Head & Neyaashiinigmiing

Submitted by David Warder

It is 5 years since we have had a full choir to perform on Good Friday! Besides the choir, we also have several people who will be narrators and character actors, and participation by various active and retired ministers. In total, over 30 people are involved. They come from all over the peninsula, from Tobermory in the north to Wiarton in the south, to rehearse each week in Lion’s Head.

In previous years, the Good Friday cantatas took the form of a Tenebrae Service incorporating the lighting and extinguishing of seven candles to leave the church in complete darkness by the end of the performance.

This year’s cantata, entitled “In My Place,” is also divided into seven segments but, instead of extinguishing candles, nails are placed at the foot of a cross while the The Story is re-told by Narrators quoting Scripture passages, costumed Readers describing, in their own words, what they did, and the Choir singing a song to tie each segment together.

I’m always looking for cantatas that present these ancient stories in a way that helps us glean something new that we may have never thought about before. “In My Place” has been on my list for several years. 

I especially like what the character actors have to say. It’s easy for us, 2,000 years later, to analyze the situation, point fingers and lay out how it all could / should have played out differently. The writers of this cantata have revealed that, 2,000 years later, we’re no different than those people. I hope people will come away with a better understanding of why it happened this way and what it means in our lives 2,000 years later.

The music is the most difficult we have performed under my direction but the quality of the rest of the cantata made it worth the effort. The choir has risen to the challenge. Rehearsals are going really well and I am certain that this will be an excellent portrayal of the familiar story in a unique way. I’m really excited!

This cantata focuses on Good Friday rather than the entirety of the events of Holy Week. We can’t be everywhere on Good Friday, so we will have our first performance on Palm Sunday, March 24, at 7:30 pm at Tobermory United Church (5 Brock Street). On Good Friday, March 29, you can attend performances at Bethel Evangelical Missionary Church in Lion’s Head (18 Ferndale Road) at 10:30 am, and Cape Croker United Church (Pit Road and Community Centre Road, Neyaashiinigmiing) at 7:30 pm.

At Cape Croker United Church, the cantata narrations will come from the First Nations Version of the New Testament which was published in 2021. This may be of particular interest to those who are interested in learning more about Indigenous culture and how it intersects with Christianity.

The net proceeds from a free-will offering will go towards the redevelopment of the Golden Dawn Senior Citizen Home in Lion’s Head.