Most of us associate seeing an orchestra in concert with a trip to large performing arts facility in a big city. However, a new orchestra has been assembled in Hawkesbury and will be making its debut performance on September 18 at Église St-Pierre-Apôtre church at the corner of Main and John streets. 

The Hawkesbury Chamber Orchestra and Champlain Chamber Choir will be performing the Requiem by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The concert has been organized by Centre Culturel Le Chenail. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the cultural centre. Father Éric Robichaud, Parish Priest of St-Pierre-Apôtre, has agreed to donate the use of the church for the concert. 

“This is a big deal for us,” said Centre Culturel Le Chenail General and Artistic Director, Lynda Clouette-Mackay. 

The Hawkesbury Chamber Orchestra is comprised of 22 professional musicians with a range of ages and experience. The 25-member Champlain Chamber choir is under the direction of Rosemary Harden of Vankleek Hill. Four soloists, Alto Laure Vermeulin, Soprano Laurie Tremblay, Tenor Emmanuel Hasler, and Bass Maxime Martin-Vo will be performing. One of the soloists will be performing in Hawkesbury as part of a busy tour schedule between Bordeaux, France and Rome. 

The orchestra will be conducted by Marc Trautmann of Paris, France. Trautmann is a longtime friend of Clouette-Mackay and her husband, percussionist Blair Mackay, who is also part of the chamber orchestra. In North America, Trautmann has conducted orchestras accompanying contemporary operas in Toronto and Portland, Oregon.  

It was Trautmann’s idea to perform the Requiem in Hawkesbury, according to Clouette-Mackay.  

“It’s a beautiful piece,” she remarked. 

A requiem is traditionally a piece of music written for a Requiem Mass, which is said for the repose of the souls of the deceased. Mozart wrote his Requiem in Vienna in 1791, but died on December 5 that year. It was completed by Franz Xaver Sussmayer and delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg for a Requiem Mass given on February 14, 1792, to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of the Count’s wife. 

Clouette-Mackay said the concert is part of Le Chenail’s mandate to bring more cultural opportunities to the community. 

“It’s a community orchestra to bring classical music to a community that normally doesn’t have access,” she said. 

Tickets for the concert are $30 per person, and free for students. Up to 400 spaces are available due to the capacity of the church. Formal attire is not required, and concertgoers are welcome to wear jeans if they wish.  

Clouette-Mackay said the performance on September 18 will be about 90 minutes in duration and Centre Culturel Le Chenail is hoping to have future orchestral performances each spring and fall. 

For tickets and further information, visit Centre Culturel Le Chenail, located at Maison de l’île near the Long Sault Bridge in Hawkesbury or call 613-632-9555. 

The Hawkesbury Chamber Orchestra and Champlain Chamber Choir performance of Mozart’s Requiem is made possible with financial support from Groupe Harden, La Maison D’Or, Caisses populaires Desjardins, Canadian Heritage, and the Town of Hawkesbury.