A vocal group that has been entertaining Manitobans for a quarter-century is back with a new holiday concert — and a new name.
Dead of Winter, previously known as Camerata Nova, is launching its 2021-22 choral season with a pair of free performances at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church on Saturday and Sunday — the group’s first live concerts in 18 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The concept we’re working with is renaissance, or rebirth,” said artistic director Andrew Balfour.
“From an Indigenous perspective, Dead of Winter speaks to recharging and reviving creativity. The concept of ‘dead of winter’ is a strong and positive one.”
The name change also reflects a change in content.
The ensemble’s roots are in baroque and renaissance music, but under the direction of Balfour, who is of Cree descent, Dead of Winter has been performing more and more Indigenous classical music alongside the early music it’s known for.
“From a settler perspective, Dead of Winter also speaks to a sense of place,” said Anne James, the organization’s board chair.
“It represents who we are and where we’re from. People outside of Manitoba already see us as ‘Winterpeg,’ and we’ve decided to put our own spin on Winnipeg’s infamous reputation.”
In addition to the free ‘Celebrating the Carol’ concerts this weekend, Dead of Winter will be taking part in the first Winnipeg Baroque Festival this spring, and performing the third part of Balfour’s Truth & Reconciliation trilogy in May at the West End Cultural Centre.