Media Release #1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre partners with Early Music Vancouver for Moving Performance Aimed at Mental Health Awareness.
Pilgrimage to Bach: A Reclamation of Spirit (see page below for media/trailer) follows World Mental Health Day, on October 10.
Vancouver, B.C. (October 6, 2021) – A collaboration with purpose, Pilgrimage to Bach: A Reclamation of Spirit will be released digitally October 13, 2021 by Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre in partnership with Early Music Vancouver (EMV) and their artist in residence, Cree-Métis baritone Jonathon Adams (they/them).
Staged and created by Vancouver’s own Alan Corbishley, the co-production is accompanied by the Pacific Baroque Orchestra. The program features a staged version of Cantata BWV 82 and a concert performance of Cantata BWV 56, which will later be made into a film in the spring.
Mental health doesn’t discriminate; it is an issue that affects people in all different social categories. Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre is dedicated to amplifying awareness of social issues that need attention, and mental health is an issue that is intensified by our current global climate. Pilgrimage to Bach was created specifically to sound an alarm on this, with the release on October 13, 2021 to follow World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2021.
It is especially timely that Jonathon Adams is involved, as a two-spirit Indigenous artist who lends their talents to bring a unique perspective to this classically colonial music. They bring a diverse quality to the performance that traditionally would not have been heard. Although the music is European, Adams considers it a type of reclamation that they are performing it. “I have begun the decolonizing work to separate my Western European musical practice from my deeply rooted spiritual identities, but I cannot fully ‘unknow’ the deep impact Christian music, ritual, and texts have had on me,” said Adams. “By lending my Indigenous gaze and my critical lens to the performance of this music, I exhume and challenge histories of genocide, white supremacy, and queer-phobia within this repertoire while finding ways to celebrate its beauty.”
Corbishley expands on the profoundness of the effort. “Our aim is to use our artistic programming to bring attention to these important issues, in this case, mental health,” said Corbishley. “As an organization, we collaborate with communities and people who are directly affected by the social issues presented in our projects, and by understanding their stories, we ensure the messages we deliver are authentic, and hopefully we inspire understanding and positive change. Adams and Early Music Vancouver are the perfect partner for us on this project.
“Especially right now, with the state of our world, mental health is a deserving cause and needs our attention. It is imperative that we stop to reflect on why that is, and how we treat others as well as how we treat and speak to ourselves so that we can quiet any toxic inner dialogue. Once we can acknowledge the problem then we can help enact real change.” The multimedia presentation engages an innovative use of green screen technology employed within the live concert.
Viewers/audiences can learn more and watch the digital release of Pilgrimage to Bach at https://soundthealarm.ca/pilgrimage-to-bach. A public trailer will be available October 6 (temporary teaser found below), followed by the feature presentation October 13.
About Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre believes music and theatre have the power to challenge, transform, connect, and energize; we strive to use the arts to amplify awareness (“sound the alarm”) for social issues that need to be heard. We collaborate within our organization and with outside groups to create innovative, high-quality programming experiences that contribute to shining light on needed conversations, lifting those that need it, and celebrating diverse Canadian communities. Learn more at https://soundthealarm.ca.
Coming up for Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre
There’s much more to see! Sound the Alarm is releasing its new digital series called Theatre for the Ears: a collection of immersive audio-dramas that explore social and environmental challenges and their effect on human experience. Visit Theatre for the Ears for more information.
For interviews, photography, and videography requests, please contact Sarah Yu, Publicist at (778) 239-7676 or email [email protected].
Pilgrimage to Bach:
A Reclamation of Spirit
Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre has collaborated with Early Music Vancouver (EMV) and their Artist in Residence, Cree-Metis baritone Jonathon Adams to create a dialogue around reclamation of spirit through two of Bach's most glorious cantatas: BWV 82 - “Ich habe genug” (It is Enough) and BWV 56 - "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen" (I will carry the burden).
Recorded Live: August 5, 2021
Digital Release: October 13, 2021
Alarm: Mental Health
Full Performance Below
Our multi-media live staging of BWV 82 explores the tension between the physical body and the caged spirit within and will help ‘sound an alarm’ on the fragility of mental health. Alan Corbishley will direct this cantata in collaboration with video artist Michael Heid of Sigma Environments.
BWV 56 will continue the cinematic nature of BWV 82, but will be realized through an original film as led by Reneltta Arluk, an Indigenous actor of Dene, Inuvialuit and Cree descent and co-director of the 2020 film THE MESSIAH COMPLEX. This film will explore an artistic reclamation to the land and water - that through intentional connection, only then can our minds and bodies reclaim cultural alignment and healing.
Directors Notes by Alan Corbishley:
Through Canada’s current awakening to its destructive and oppressive past due to our colonial infrastructures and toxic power structures, this artistic program aims to challenge historically white, christian, heteronormative narratives as it relates to personal and cultural identity. As per Jonathon’s self proclaimed Indigenous and Two-Spirited ‘take-over’ of colonial and christian baroque music, as a gay man myself, I too struggle with the complex relationship christianity and its social ideology has forced onto the LGBTQ2S communities, resulting in a pressure to ‘other’ ourselves into conformity. It is this damaging life-long social gaslighting that generates a deep struggle in healthy identity. Through this program, we are ‘sounding an alarm’ on mental health and the need to reclaim healthy identities from within contained and limiting ideologies.
As a musical symbol for christian and colonial infrastructures, we have chosen two of Bach’s most glorious sacred cantatas to theatrically explore. The first is his famous BWV 82 “Ich habe genug” (It is Enough). This 25 minute monodrama for baritone is dramatically centred around the spirit’s yearning to escape the physical self through death. “Ah! if only the Lord would free me from my body’s enslavement; Ah! If indeed my liberation were soon, With joy I would say to you, O World, It is enough.” Our live, multi-media approach explores this idea of physical being, layered against a digital realization of the internal self and its multitudes. Due to toxic internal narratives, added to our oppressive societal ‘scripts’, this tension of being often amounts to an array of mental health issues and an inevitable yearning for release. In this presentation, we don’t aim to speak directly to suicide, but rather the process of immancipation from a fragmented identity, into a healthier alignment of being.
Our second cantata, BWV 56 "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen" (I will carry the burden), is scheduled to be made into a film in the Spring of 2022, and tonight's concert recording will function as its musical foundation. Director Reneltta Arluk, an Indigenous actor of Dene, Inuvialuit and Cree descent, will lead Jonathon through this cinematic experience with a pointed Indigenous lens - focused on the resurgence of cultural expression and an artistic reclaiming of land. “My pilgrimage in the world is like a sea voyage: trouble, suffering, and anguish are the waves that cover me… Finally my yoke must fall away from me. Then will I fight with the Lord's strength, then I will have an eagle's power, then I will journey from this earth and run without becoming fatigued”. As these lyrics evoke, the film will reframe this forced Christian narrative to speak directly to the Indigenous community as told through a cultural journey on their land and their waters. Through intentional and relentless action and connection, only then can Indigenous communities and their members reclaim cultural alignment and healing.
It is our goal to present these two fully theatricalized cantatas within a single concert experience.
Thank you for supporting that artistic journey.
We would like to thank
the following for their support.
Canada Council for the Arts
Explore and Create Grant
BC Arts Council
Project Grant: Music