Glitter & Fall: A Gala Poetry/Music Recital

On November 25, 2019, approximately 80 people gathered at the University of Winnipeg’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall for Glitter & Fall: A Gala Poetry/Music Recital. Organized by Winnipeg Poet Laureate Di Brandt to bring to a close her two-year appointment, the event featured some of Winnipeg’s finest artists.

Di’s focus for the event was on celebration and collaboration, and she enlisted the help of several Canadian composers to set her works to music which was then performed by an all-star lineup of musicians and vocalists.  Di also presented some of her poetry throughout the evening including Winnipeg Winter Sonnets which she wrote in early 2019 while the City was in the throes of a deep freeze.

Dr. Catherine Hunter from the University of Winnipeg’s Department of English set the tone for the evening, highlighting some of the work Di has done over the course of her appointment, and then the music began.

Two of Di’s Songs of Dark Marvels set to music by David Lidov opened the musical offering with Lizzy Hoyt accompanied by Laura Loewen on piano. Laura stayed at the piano while Rosemarie Van Der Hooft sang selections from Di’s Emily The Way You Are composed by Jana Skarecky. Mel Braun, head of the Vocal Program at the University of Manitoba's Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music, led the Desautels Chorale and accompanist Megan Dufrat through three Kinderlieder, traditional German folksongs translated by Di and set to music by Kenneth Nichols.

The pièce-de-résistance of the evening was the performance of Coyotes Do Not Carry Her Away. Poems from Di’s latest book, Glitter & fall (Turnstone Press, 2018) set to music by Kenneth Nichols were performed by Richard Turner and Micha Heilbrunn, both principals with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and sung by Canada’s premiere coloratura soprano and proud Winnipegger, Tracy Dahl.

Glitter & Fall: A Gala Poetry/Music Recital was a wonderful way to close out Di Brandt’s tenure. The Winnipeg Arts Council has been fortunate to work with Di Brandt as Winnipeg’s inaugural Poet Laureate for the last two years. Her works have kept us engaged and entertained, but always in a way that makes us mindful of the community we live in. Di’s commitment to Winnipeg as a place for everyone and to reflecting its stories with tremendous artistry are equally important parts of her legacy as Poet Laureate. The evening would not have been possible without the support of Kenneth Nichols, the University of Winnipeg, Turnstone Press, Jase Falk, the University of Manitoba and Prairie Fire Magazine.

A new Poet Laureate will be named in early 2020.

Glitter & Fall Gala, November 25, 2019

All photos by Matt Duboff