Searston Beach

by Kathleen Allan

SING THE NORTH travelled to the Easternmost edge of Canada to sing ‘Searston Beach’ by Newfoundland composer, Kathleen Allan.

But even as far as we travelled, our journey was not over! We still covered more than 800 km of highway on our journey from the Newfoundland & Labrador capital, St John’s, to the Westward-looking coastline of Searston Beach in the Codroy Valley. It is a place a world apart on a timescale all its own.

Kathleen Allan’s five-part choral piece ‘Searston Beach’ is the first in a suite of three choral pieces to texts by Newfoundland poet Al Pittman.

Beginning with a beautiful folk-inspired melody, it transforms gradually into a rich, rolling texture that evokes the waves of the Atlantic ocean crashing like memories on the cool sandy shore. 

We hope you will enjoy our video of Searston Beach, which features three of our Newfoundland-based singers in the opening scene.  Many of the photos and video clips in the film were provided by Newfoundlanders, as are the beautiful still images of Searston Beach itself that are shown throughout the credits.

We send warmest thanks to our singers for their heartfelt performances of this timeless choral piece by Kathleen Allan!

Meet Kathleen Allan

Newfoundland composer and conductor Kathleen Allan is one of Canada’s brightest young musical stars. Artistic Director and Conductor of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto, Artistic Director of Canzona, Winnipeg’s professional baroque choir, and Visiting Professor of Choral Music at Western University.

Published by Boosey & Hawkes, Cypress Choral, and MusicSpoke, she is a composer with an ear for a good tune and a deep sensitivity to choral sound. Read more about Kathleen Allan.

Virtual Field Trip

Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador

Every SING THE NORTH project features a trip in our virtual choir tour bus, a special session when we travel together as a choir to a different part of Canada to meet the people who live and work there.

For generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians whose lives depended on the water, a boat was a veritable vessel – to security, to safety, and to survival. Being resourceful, resilient people, our forebearers fashioned their floating survival kits from the materials their unique environments provided. In the process, they became architects of not only the magnificent structures they built, but of an entire legacy – one whose existence was all but extinguished before 1997.

That was the year The Winterton Boat Building and Community Museum was started under the direction of the Town of Winterton’s Heritage Advisory Board. Recognizing the immense importance of wooden boat building in the construction of our cultural landscape, the organization sought to preserve the precious skills, knowledge and tools that today provide a pristine portrait of our collective past.

Expanding to become the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador (WBMNL) in 2008, the organization made its headquarters in Winterton, one of the many communities with a rich history of wooden boat building. It is here, through ongoing exhibits and workshops with descendants of wooden boat building masters, that a unique local legacy lives on – one that, like its authors, has persevered, despite the odds.

SING THE NORTH had a wonderful time at our Virtual Choir Field Trip to the Wooden Boat Museum. We send special thanks to Jim Dempsey, President of the Museum, who gave us a stellar tour!

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