We are excited to invite you to join us on November 30 for our annual Community Voices event. It will be an evening of music to raise awareness about HIV and to bring the community together to mark World AIDS Day. Community Voices will take place at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church (1121 14 Ave SW, T2R 0P3). The emcee for this event is Mike Morrison, the man behind Mike’s Bloggity Blog. Tickets are $25, seniors and students $20 children are free are available at Eventbrite or at the door.
Described as “a supremely refined, elegant, cerebral musician” (Ottawa Citizen), Sylvain Bergeron is a master of the lute and plucked strings family of instruments including theorbo, archlute and baroque guitar. He is in high demand on the North American music scene as a soloist and continuo player. Wholenote Magazine declared, “Sylvain Bergeron is a brilliant musician who weaves an unforgettable aural tapestry.” Bergeron is the co-founder and co- artistic director of La Nef and has been at the helm of many of the Montréal-based ensemble’s award-winning presentations, including Joan the Mad, Perceval, and Montségur.
A native of Québec, Bergeron began his lute studies with several years of self-directed, in-depth study, followed by a series of seminars offered by the Lute Society of America where he was mentored by, among others, Paul O’Dette, Eugène Dombois, Nigel North, and Jakob Lindberg. As a member of Ensemble Anonymus from 1980 to 1990, Bergeron was among Canada’s early music pioneers and helped establish the lute as a viable instrument at the highest professional level. His work has reaffirmed the importance of plucked instruments and has helped to validate their place within baroque ensembles and orchestras in Canada.
Sylvain Bergeron gives almost 100 concerts each season, playing with such high profile companies and ensembles as Les Violons du Roy, the Canadian Opera Company, and Apollo’s Fire. He has also played with such internationally renowned early music icons as Dame Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, and Jordi Savall, as well as Canadian stars including Karina Gauvin, Suzie LeBlanc, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, and Daniel Taylor.
Bergeron has made several tours across all five continents and has played in the most prestigious halls in the world including Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Salle Gaveau in Paris, and Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City. His discography includes more than 70 recordings, many of which have earned awards and awards. Bergeron’s first solo album The Balcarres Lute Book was released on ATMA Classique in 2008 and was widely acclaimed for “solid lute technique combined with an uncanny musical intellect and impeccable phrasing” (Wholenote Magazine), while Goldberg Magazine described Bergeron’s playing as “rhythmically vital yet full of dedicacy and nuance.” His most recent solo record, Gioseppe Antonio Doni’s Lute Book, published by ATMA Classique in 2015, was widely praised for its “solid lute technique combined with outstanding musical intelligence and impeccable phrasing” (The WholeNote ).
Sylvain Bergeron teaches lute, baroque guitar, theorbo and continuo at McGill University and the University of Montréal. He has given numerous lectures, workshops, and master classes, and has participated on several music competition juries. As a specialist in early plucked instruments, he is often consulted for various recording and publishing projects.
Happy New Years’! That’s right, it’s out with the old, in with the new—at least according to the church’s liturgical calendar. The Christian year begins four Sundays before Christmas, on the First Sunday in Advent, and ends the Sunday before that, which is traditionally celebrated as The Feast of Christ the King, or, more recently, the Reign of Christ.
The original calendars were set according to the lunar cycles, from which we still set the date for Easter (the first Sunday following the full moon that follows the northern spring equinox). But those calendars set the start of the year variously as May 1, March 15, and even September 1—until, that is, the Julian calendar was established in the 1st Century, CE, and which was then upheld by the (more refined) Gregorian calendar we in the West have used since the 16th Century.
While still observing the Gregorian calendar for civic purposes, the church regards the year as the unfolding story of Jesus Christ. So it begins, in the West, by backing up four weeks from the traditional date of Jesus’ birthday, December 25, to hear the prophecies concerning his arrival. It then tells his earthly story up to his death and resurrection at Easter, and then beyond, with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The rest of the year is a wide-flung consideration of Jesus’ parables and teachings, until we roll it all up in a celebration of his reign … and then start again.
We pray routinely for the baptized, that God gives them “an inquiring and discerning heart”. But the words race by, their significance lost. We are praying, not that we have all the answers, but that we ask the right questions, and that we discover for ourselves our own answers.
This is a hallmark of what some call “progressive” Christianity—followers of Jesus who are content to live not only with what they know, but also with what they don’t know, holding contradictory truths in tension, accepting the ambiguity that some truths remain unclear and incomprehensible.
This approach heeds the apostle Paul’s advice to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. We may accept God’s unconditional love for us, poured out for us on the cross, planted deep in our hearts by the Holy Spirit; but what does it mean, and what does this actually look like in the life of a Christian?
Asking questions is not, as some suppose, a lack of faith. It is precisely the opposite. To ask questions is to deepen our understanding of the truth, and to apply it creatively to our daily lives. It sees faith as lively exploration rather than as blind obedience.
To help fulfil our baptismal prayer, we offer, from time to time, a Tuesday evening “Inquirers’ Group”. So on December 5, 12 & 19, at 7:15, we welcome all inquirers to bring their questions about Christmas: what does the birth of Jesus, so long ago, really mean to us now?