Collaboration isn't just a word for the Vancouver-based professional vocal ensemble, musica intima; it's a way of both connecting with an audience and allowing for a free exchange of ideas, while exploring individual musical creativity.
"We are a consensus-based, conductor-less ensemble," says Joanna Dundas, Artistic Manager of musica intima. "We're heading into our 25th year and this is the essence of why the group began. It's the desire to have a collaborative musical process and the desire to perform without a conductor."
Since it started in 1992, musica intima has used this collaborative process in the making of nine professional recordings, winning numerous awards along the way.
"Our 'Clear' album, released in 1990, was named one of the 30 best Canadian classical recordings ever by the CBC," Joanna notes. "In 2010, our album 'Into the Light' received a 10-star review in the BBC Music Magazine. Plus, we've been nominated for three JUNO awards and a West Coast Music Award."
The ensemble has performed in festivals and concerts across Canada, Europe, and even Korea. In December 2016, audiences across the Lower Mainland will have the opportunity to hear musica intima in two very distinctive performances.
"We have three performances of 'Joy to the World!' scheduled for December 13 in the Oliver Baptist Church, New Westminster," Joanna explains. "This is followed by December 16 at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, and on December 17, we'll be performing a matinee at St. Philip's Anglican Church in Dunbar."
"Joy to the World!" is a traditional performance featuring the music people love to hear at this time of year. A special treat this year is the appearance of organist and founding member of musica intima, Michael Murray. There'll also be an audience sing-along.
The second performance, "Ding Dong," will give an entirely different perspective on the vocal ensemble.
"It's completely different," Joanna laughs, "and it's in a different type of venue at the Anza Club. It came from the group talking about programming and how there are all these songs that we love, but which wouldn't fit into our regular Christmas programme."
With musicians that are well versed in a number of styles, including jazz, musical theatre, and pop, musica intima decided to create a fun and edgy show featuring music by Tom Waits, Boney M, and other contemporary artists.
"We wanted to do something different for people who perhaps are not attracted to the traditional Christmas music," Joanna says.