Chronos presents: Inward ~ Onward

Grateful for 10 years of singing

Presenting “Chosen Family” by Stuart Beatch

See below for texts and translations, and below that for comments on each of the works from conductor Jordan Van Biert.

Laudibus in Sanctis Dominum – Byrd
Bogoroditse Devo – Rachmaninoff
O Sacrum Convivium! – Messiaen
Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen – Mendelssohn

Psaume 98 – Peter-Anthony Togni
The Frost – Kathleen Allan
One Black Spike – Jocelyn Morlock
Little Bells – Nicholas Ryan Kelly
Only in Sleep – Ēriks Ešenvalds

Chosen Family – Stuart Beach (World Premiere)
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied – J.S. Bach (selections)
Seek him that maketh the seven stars – Jonathan Dove
Ring Out, Wild Bells – Jonathan Dove

with Jeremy Spurgeon, piano and organ

and Kim Cousineau, piano

featuring Elle Lyrette and Tegan Hryciw, soloists

Inward Outward Program Page
Click to view the full program booklet

Texts and Translations

Laudibus in Sanctis Dominum
Text: Psalm 150, paraphrased in Latin elegiac verse

Laudibus in sanctis Dominum celebrate supremum:
Firmamenta sonent inclita facta Dei.
Inclita facta Dei cantate, sacraque potentis
Voce potestatem saepe sonate manus.

Magnificum Domini cantet tuba martia nomen:
Pieria Domino concelebrate lira.
Laude Dei resonent resonantia tympana summi:
Alta sacri resonent organa laude Dei.

Hunc arguta canant tenui psalteria corda,
Hunc agili laudet laeta chorea pede.
Concava divinas effundant cymbala laudes,
Cymbala dulcisona laude repleta Dei.

Omne quod aethereis in mundo vescitur auris
Alleluia canat tempus in omne Deo.

Celebrate the Lord most high in holy praises:
Let the firmament echo the glorious deeds of God.
Sing ye the glorious deeds of God, and with holy voice
Sound forth oft the power of his mighty hand.:

Let the warlike trumpet sing the great name of the Lord:
Celebrate the Lord with Pierian lyre.
Let resounding timbrels ring to the praise of the most-high God,
Lofty organs peal to the praise of the holy God.:

Him let melodious psalteries sing with fine string,
Him let joyful dance praise with nimble foot.
Let hollow cymbals pour forth divine praises,
Cymbals filled with the sweet-sounding praise of God.

Let everything in the world that feeds upon the air of heaven
Sing Hallelujah to God for evermore.

Bogoroditse Devo
[Marian hymn, Orthodox tradition]

Богородице Дево, радуйся,
благодатная Марие, Господь с тобою.
Благословенна Ты в женах,
и благословен плод чрева твоего,
яко Спаса родила
еси душ наших.

O Virgin Mother of God, rejoice!
O Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
for thou didst give birth
to the Saviour of our souls.

O Sacrum Convivium!
Text: Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

O sacrum convivium!
in quo Christus sumitur:
recolitur memoria passionis eius:
mens impletur gratia:
et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.

O sacred banquet!
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the mind is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory to us is given.

Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen
Text: Psalm 91:11–12

Denn er hat seinen Engeln
befohlen über dir,
daß sie dich behüten
auf allen deinen Wegen,
daß sie dich auf Händen tragen
und du deinen Fuß nicht
an einen Stein stoßest.

For he shall give his angels
charge over thee,
to keep thee
in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands,
lest thou dash thy foot
against a stone.

Psaume 98
Text: Psalm 98

Chantez au Seigneur un chant nouveau
Car il a fait des merveilles.
Sa droite, son bras très saint
l’ont rendu vainqueur.
Le Seigneur a fait connaître sa victoire
aux yeux des nations,
Il a révélé sa justice, il s’est rappeleé
sa fidelité, sa loyauté,
en faveur de la maison d’Israël.

Sing a new song to the Lord!
He has worked miracles,
and with his own powerful arm,
he has won the victory.
The Lord has shown the nations
that he has the power to save
and to bring justice.
God has been faithful
in his love for Israel.

The Frost
Archibald Lampman* (1861–1899)

The frost that stings like fire upon my cheek,
The loneliness of this forsaken ground,
The long white drift upon whose powdered peak
I sit in the great silence as one bound;
The rippled sheet of snow where the wind blew
Across the open fields for miles ahead;
The far-off city towered and roofed in blue
A tender line upon the western red;
The stars that singly, then in flocks appear,
Like jets of silver from the violet dome,
So wonderful, so many and so near,
And then the golden moon to light me home –
The crunching snowshoes and the stinging air,
And silence, frost and beauty everywhere.

One Black Spike
Jocelyn Morlock

One black iron spike
One mile east of Fort Fraser
Three thousand miles of track, standard gauge
Three thousand days of immigrant labour
One resource economy
One black spike.

Little Bells
Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

I heard you, solemn-sweet pipes of the organ, as last
Sunday morn I pass’d the church;
Winds of autumn!—as I walk’d the woods at dusk, I
heard your long-stretch’d sighs, up above, so
I heard the perfect Italian tenor, singing at the opera—I
heard the soprano in the midst of the quartet singing;
…Heart of my love!—you too I heard, murmuring low,
through one of the wrists around my head;
Heard the pulse of you, when all was still, ringing little
bells last night under my ear.

Only in Sleep
Sara Teasdale (1884–1933)
From Flame and Shadow (1920)

Only in sleep I see their faces,
Children I played with
when I was a child,
Louise comes back
with her brown hair braided,
Annie with ringlets warm and wild.

Only in sleep Time is forgotten —
What may have come to them,
who can know?
Yet we played last night as long ago,
And the doll-house stood
at the turn of the stair.

The years had not sharpened their
smooth round faces,
I met their eyes and found them mild —
Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder,
And for them am I too a child?

Chosen Family

Poems by John Barton (b. 1957)
from Lost Family: A Memoir (2020)

Inside the Frame

Kept to one floor, he rolls his chair from bed
To easel, weekdays spent behind windows
Houseflies walk across, the light-torn, rain-bled
Squares of glass they lift from, blankly going

Where he cannot, grandchildren in and out
Wife opening her florist’s shop, daughter
Attentive, busy, wheeling him around
Time an island trapped by shallow water

He paints his mornings out of, each canvas
A sail catching what flails inside a frame
He turns windward to make bell out, nexus
Of what could albatross the picture plane

Unbound by able brushstrokes, an old man’s
Youthful sightlines stretched life-sized, a life’s span.


We were close. My iPhone scrolling us through

Photos I took to show you, a last glimpse
In your final days, though we had no clue
Or would not see or must have looked askance.

I did, at least. In your hospital room
Chair drawn up to your bed. Oxygen tank
Hung overhead, not unlike a vacuum

Cleaner canister, you breathing in banks
Of purifying air; cheerful, loving
While affirming the flora you knew well

Camas, grape hyacinth, dogwood, quince—spring
Weeks old, as if its efflorescent spell
When stemmed, could carry forward still; grateful

For your poised life with us; as I’m grateful.


What She Gave Me

Their arrival forthright as a stopwatch
Every March slid inside my bachelor
Apartment’s milk chute by whistling postmen
Boxes my mother winged over divides

Mountains would incline between us, candied
Peel and cherries drunk on brandy or rum
Eggs beaten in after siftings of flour
Baked, then swathed in bubble wrap and dispatched

Uniced, candles if unpacked set aflame
The years I’d blow out seldom passed alone
Consumed in thick slices before they went

Stale, my Murphy bed springing back unmade
Inside the wall on mornings stomached prone
The crumbs scattered from two plates not misspent.

Chosen Family

Coasting above the sun-drenched sequoias
Anchored in your backyard, wingtips touching

Shadows turning—skydivers with hands joined
Who’ve yet to come to ground—the thermals quaffed

Pouring them through ellipses, tipped spirals
Uncoiled and rewound, feathers wind-tethered

Kaleidoscopic when light-struck, a braille
The eye runs across, the air read lower

Down where we sit brimming, gazing up thrilled
Your table holding us to a circle

Buoyant with cheeses and glasses of chilled
Tequila, words unplanned, luffed vertical—

A prayer held in beaks of like-minded steel
The Earth spinning, four eagles a sun wheel.

Lobet den Herrn / Alles was Odem hat
Text: Psalm 150:2,6

Lobet den Herrn in seinen Taten,
lobet ihn in seiner großen Herrlichkeit.

Alles was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn,

Praise the Lord in His works,
praise Him in his great glory.

Everything that has breath, praise the Lord,

Seek him that maketh the seven stars
Text: Amos 5:8, Psalm 139

Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion,
And turneth the shadow of death into the morning.
Yea, the darkness shineth as the day, the night is light about me.

Ring out, wild bells
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)

O Earth, O Earth, return!

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the time;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Extended Program Notes

Find out more about the music on the program; these notes may serve to add context to the information in the printed concert program and the verbal remarks given in performance.

Notes by Jordan Van Biert except where indicated.

Laudibus in Sanctis Dominum

First learned and performed by the choir in 2021, this is Chronos’s first opportunity to perform this exuberant motet by Byrd, unmasked!

Bogoroditse Devo

Excerpted from Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, Bogoroditse Devo was first performed by Chronos at the conclusion of its first season in May 2014, and later included in the 2015 program Vespers, featuring the first portion of the All-Night Vigil.

(I had previously studied the All-Night Vigil as a graduate student and included this movement in my Master’s recital at the University of Alberta in 2007, a performance in which several future Chronos members were a part.) – jvb

O Sacrum Convivium!

First performed by Chronos in January 2015, this meditative work by the French organist-composer Olivier Messaien is included on the debut album “Presenting Chronos Vocal Ensemble.”

Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen

Chronos has performed more compositions, and more minutes of music, by Mendelssohn than any other composer, and centered programs on Mendelssohn works in 2013, 2014 and 2016. This is a favourite.

(Incidentally, Trent Worthington is the choir’s next-most-performed composer!)

Psaume 98

This Peter Togni composition incorporates elements of his background as a jazz pianist and player in bands.

Chronos first learned this work for the opening of its second season (and first subscription season!) of concerts in fall 2014, and subsequently included it on the debut album “Presenting Chronos Vocal Ensemble” as well as in its grand-prize-winning submission to the National Competition in 2015.

The Frost

First performed and recorded by Chronos in 2018 for Fresh: New Music from Canada.

[from the composer:]

“I composed ‘The Frost’ while at a residency at the Banff Centre in February 2015. During my residency I visited my aunt and uncle who lived in the Rockies, and spent one of the most memorable days snowshoeing around and across a beautiful frozen mountain lake. I didn’t know at the time that this special day would be the last time I saw my beloved aunt before she died suddenly a couple of months later. Archibald Lampman’s ‘Winter Uplands’ was written after a winter walk near his Ontario home, and I felt that his words perfectly captured the soundscape and essence of a winter day outdoors.”

One Black Spike

One Black Spike was first featured in Chronos’s 2018 concert (and subsequent album) Fresh: New Music from Canada. The choir has since performed the piece on tour in both Newfoundland and the Northwestern USA, including it in presentations for the Podium Festival and Conference, and the American Choral Directors’ Association conference.


[from the composer:]

“‘One Black Spike’ represents the time period 1914–1945. Its subject is the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, opened in 1914, which connects Port Hardy and the BC interior. The last spike (made of black iron ore) of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was driven one mile east of Fort Fraser, British Columbia, Canada on April 7, 1914. Thanks to Alan Ashton for his help in making the list that comprises the text of this song.”

Little Bells

The winner of our inaugural composition competition in 2017, Little Bells was the beginning of our connection with Nicholas Kelly, later resulting in recordings and commissions in 2018, 2021 and 2022.

See here for the video of our 2017 premiere performance of Little Bells.

[from the composer:]

“‘Little Bells’ celebrates the beauty that can be found in the everyday, and the joys inherent in being attuned to one’s surroundings. The text by Walt Whitman describes an awed reaction to sounds as commonplace as wind and a heartbeat – and I decided that, rather than mimicking these sounds (which, to my mind, would be redundant), the music should underscore this reaction, and help to evoke the remarkable contrasts between the sounds Whitman describes.”

Only in Sleep

See here for the 2020 video project mentioned during the concert.

Chosen Family

[from the composer:]


Chosen Family is a four-movement choral cycle adapting poetry by Victoria-based poet John Barton. The text is taken from his most recent book Lost Family, a memoir in sonnets. The four poems recall important people in his life, both friends and family, who have since passed away. Together, they form a narrative of life, love, and coping with loss through the support of our chosen families.

Inside the Frame remembers James Gordaneer, a well-known artist in Victoria. Following a stroke in 2011, James was wheelchair-bound but continued to paint until his final days. The music transitions from quiet solitude into a rollicking sea shanty, celebrating the liberation he felt through his art.

Oxygen recounts the final time John visited his favourite aunt Barbara in hospital. Despite the bittersweet emotions in retrospect, the music is filled with joy and tender moments, celebrating the beauty of her character.

What She Gave Me describes the birthday cakes John received in the mail each year from his mother, meant to bridge the divide between them as adults. The music is highly colourful and rhythmic, using vivid text painting to bring these gifts to life.

The final movement, Chosen Family, begins with an extended image of eagles coasting through the summer sky as friends are gathered down below, sharing food and drink together. Weaving together moments and themes from across the entire work, the piece ends by recognizing the connection we all share—between people, in nature, and across the Earth.

Chosen Family is dedicated to the memory of James Gordaneer (1933-2016), Barbara Preston (1931-2016), Nancy Barton (1922-2014), and Eva Wynand (1940-2019).

See also the interview between Stuart and Iain Gillis, found here on our website.


From Singet dem Herrn: Lobet den Herrn / Alles was Odem hat

Between 2014 and 2017, Chronos Vocal Ensemble’s performed repertoire included the complete motets of Bach.

These are the final two sections from one of those works, set for double-choir at first, and concluding in a rollicking four-part polyphonic section with opportunities for each section of the choir to be brought to the forefront.

Seek him that maketh the seven stars

This piece was first performed by Chronos in 2023, on the recommendation of Jeremy Spurgeon for our program Generation to Generation, held here at All Saints’ and featuring British choir-and-organ repertoire. This relatively new work by a living English composer was a “hit” with our audiences, and its grandeur in combining organ and (in this case, large) choir makes a great addition to the climax of our performance on this occasion.

Ring out, wild bells

The final movement from Jonathan Dove’s The Passing of the Year, which Chronos has performed complete on two prior occasions: First in 2017 in the scoring with solo piano (with Roger Admiral), and then in 2019 in the scoring for two pianos and percussion. Jeremy Spurgeon joined us at the second piano in the latter instance, and is here featured as our soloist.

The Passing of the Year is a piece dear to several of us who founded Chronos Vocal Ensemble and had previously been involved in recording this work as members of the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers under the direction of Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff. In the early 2000’s, this was a first major recording project for many of us as members of a choir, in a period of time that also included touring, performances in Los Angeles (including at Disney Hall), and a grand prize win in the National Competition.