Vision Chant

sing the north logo circle 1SING THE NORTH travelled virtually to Winnipeg, Manitoba in February 2022 to sing VISION CHANT by Manitoba Cree composer, Andrew Balfour.

This project was sung by STN – our founding SING THE NORTH SATB choir.

Vision Chant is a piece for SSAATTBB a capella chorus that explores the concept of the journey, both physical and spiritual, that each of us takes as we pass through our experience on earth.

Singers on our project took weekly full-choir rehearsals and sectionals, during which we delved into an intensive exploration of this unique and historic piece. We also had the great privilege of a live in-person conversation with composer Andrew Balfour, during which we learned about his concept for the piece, the origin of his interest in spiritual journey, and the very special place Vision Chant holds within the larger choral work in which it originates: Bawajigaywin.

As part of our project on this piece, the choir took a field trip on the STN Virtual Choir Tour Bus to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We encourage anyone who is interested in human history and the museum’s mandate to promote understand of human rights and responsibilities, to visit this superb museum.

This project ran in February and March 2022 and registration is now closed.

Please check back to this page to view our VISION CHANT Virtual Choir Video, which is currently in production.

We send a very special thanks to composer Andrew Balfour!

Vision Chant

Vision Chant is a piece for SSAATTBB a capella chorus published by Cypress Choral Music that explores the concept of the journey, both physical and spiritual, that each of us takes as we pass through our time on earth.

Based upon and structured around an incessant Indigenous chant motif, the piece begins with an elaborate vocal flourish on the word ‘babamadizwin’, which means ‘journey’ in Ojibway.

Part of a larger work by Andrew Balfour titled ‘Bawajigaywin’, which was commissioned by the Kingston Chamber Choir, Vision Chant is a haunting three-part work, as powerful to hear as it is to sing.

Framed with two elaborate vocal flourishes, we are lifted up and drawn into to the intense central section where we witness and experience the vision itself.

Meet Andrew Balfour

Of Cree descent, Winnipeg based composer Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer/conductor/singer/sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, electro-acoustic and orchestral works, including; ​Take the Indian ​(A Vocal reflection on Missing Children), Empire Étrange: ​The Death of Louis Riel, and Manitou Sky​-An orchestral tone poem.

Andrew is also the founder and Artistic Director of the innovative, 14-member vocal group Dead of Winter (formerly Camerata Nova), which has been singing a full season in Winnipeg for more than two decades.

With Dead of Winter, Andrew specializes in creating “concept concerts”, many with indigenous subject matter (​Wa Wa Tey Wak ​- Northern Lights, ​Medieval Inuit​ - Chant!​)​. These innovative offerings explore a theme through an eclectic array of music, including new works, arrangements and innovative inter-genre and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Andrew has become increasingly passionate about music education and outreach, particularly on northern reserves and inner city Winnipeg schools where he has worked on behalf of the National Arts Centre, Dead of Winter, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and various Winnipeg school divisions for the past eight years.

Andrew was Curator and Composer-in-Residence of the WSO’s Indigenous Festivals in 2009 and 2010 and in 2007 received the Mayor of Winnipeg’s Making a Mark Award, sponsored by the Winnipeg Arts Council to recognize the most promising midcareer artist in the City.

In 2017, he was awarded a Gold Medal by the Senate of Canada for his contribution to Canada’s indigenous and music communities.

Text Credit: Camerata Nova website.

Virtual Field Trip

Museum of Human Rights

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.

As the first museum dedicated to human rights in the world, the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg is “centred around the idea that respect and understanding of human rights can serve as a positive force for change in the world.”

Their mandate is to “explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public's understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue.”

Singers on our Vision Chant project travelled to Winnipeg for a special virtual tour of the Museum arranged for STN Choristers with two members of the museum’s curatorial and education team.

We hope you will stop at this world-class museum to learn more about the important exhibitions currently on display and, through learning, and through witnessing, to participate in much-needed change.

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