sing the north logo circle 1SING THE NORTH sang RIVER by Joni Mitchell in a beautiful arrangement for SATB a capella chorus by the GurtLush choir in November-December 2021. This project was sung by STN – our founding SING THE NORTH choir.

“River” is a song by Canadian singer songwriter Joni Mitchell, from her 1971 album Blue. It is said to have been written after Joni split with fellow artist Graham Nash, with whom she had been together between 1968 and 1970.

Escaping to Europe—thought to be the ‘skating away on a river’ of the song—after an especially difficult time in the relationship as her career was building, Joni sent Nash a telegram from Crete telling him that it was over. Now one of the great pop anthems associated with Christmas time, River is an anthem to the complexity, and especially the regret, that can follow romance.

As this SING THE NORTH project took place during the darkest weeks of the year, we travelled to Joni Mitchell’s hometown of Saskatoon on the Canadian prairie to visit a scientific institute called the Canadian Light Source, home to the Syncrotron, the brightest light in Canada.  Thank you to Kathryn Janzen, Particle Physicist and Station Manager for the excellent virtual tour of this fascinating facility!

Our STN Choristers poured their soul into our River project during the darkest weeks of winter. We thank all singers who took part from across Canada and around the world.

We hope you enjoy our video of this great piece, which overlays Joni’s personal story with a parallel story of the one thing many people who live in Northern climates wish they could escape – the long winters!

Virtual Field Trip

Synchrotron at The Canadian Light Source

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.

The Canadian Light Source, a research centre of the University of Saskatchewan in Joni Mitchell's hometown of Saskatoon, is the brightest light in Canada—millions of times brighter than even the sun.

Known as the Synchroton, it produces different kinds of light that can be used by scientists to get incredibly detailed information about the structural and chemical properties of materials at the molecular level.

Scientists come from around the world to work on the Synchrotron, with research using the light source ranging from mine tailing remediation to cancer research, to the development of cutting-edge materials that were previously unknown.

SING THE NORTH had a fantastic trip on the STN Virtual Choir Tour bus to Saskatoon on the Canadian prairie, where we had a live personal tour of the Synchrotron with Kathryn Janzen, one of the physicists working at the site. Thank you so much Kathryn!

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