Canadian composer Alice Ping Yee Ho (b. 1960) is acclaimed for her “organic flow of imagination” and “distinctly individual style”. She is the recipient of 2016 Louis Applebaum Composers Award, 2014 PEI Symphony Composers Competition Award, 2013 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Original Opera, and M. Hunter’s Award for “best classical composer”. Her works have been performed by many acclaimed ensembles including China National Symphony, Polish Radio Choir, Finnish Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the Toronto, Winnipeg, and Victoria Symphonies. A twice Juno nominee for classical composition of the year (2015 and 2018), her discography releases including the Centrediscs, Marquis Classics, Blue Griffin, Electra and Phoenix labels.
by Alice Ping Yee Ho
SSA a cappella with body percussion $2.75 CP 1705 duration – 6:30
Begin is not a little ditty for novice singers – but rather a challenging and fulfilling undertaking. Listen to the stunning recording by the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth. (directors Dr. Charlene Pauls and Dr. Sarah Morrison.)
Begin is an extensive composition written for SSA a capella girl choir. Based on a poem “Begin” by Toronto writer Tanis Rideout, the music describes an imaginary journey of Marilyn Bell and Shirley Campbell, two long distance swimmers who tried to swim Lake Ontario in the 1950’s. Campbell was unsuccessful and Bell became a legendary figure. Music sails through the geological landscape of Lake Ontario, expresses in a poetic way how nature and history defines the relationship we have with water: the tides that push us together, also pull us apart. Some theatre elements such as making sound effects, movement, body percussion, and “rapping” of swim terminology are integrated in the music, highlighting the drama of the text. This composition conveys an empowering message how two different young women faced and conquered huge challenge with strength, intelligence, perseverance, and courage.