SongRise in the Press

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Choral For Peace

SongRise Photos

Rhiannon and the SongRise Choir, SongRise 1995 Dee Daniels, SongRise 1995 Lovi Eli & Ann Mortifee, SongRise 1995 Coco Love Alcorn & Rhiannon, SongRise 1995 Rhiannon, SongRise 1995 (midnight) Laurel Murphy & Rhiannon, SongRise 1995 (midnight) Modesto & Sal Fererras, SongRise 1995 Laurel Murphy, SongRise Rehearsal 1999 Sheri Ulrich, SongRise Rehearsal 1999 Laurel & Rhiannon, SongRise Rehearsal 1999




On December 30, 1993, Laurel Murphy flew to San Francisco to participate in Bobby McFerrin’s “Sing For Your Life”, a 24 hour improvised piece created at Grace Cathedral. So impressed by the experience, she returned to Vancouver, intent on sharing the magic of this musical form with her own city. On New Year’s Eve, 1995, SongRise was born–a product of the talent and inspiration of more than 200 singers, conductors and volunteers and 1200 audience members.

Using the voices of singers and audience members as their only instruments, guest conductors composed a five-hour continuous vocal soundscape–layering ethereal harmonies over primal rhythms; weaving jazz and blues into traditional choral chants. The result was a musically and spiritually uplifting New Year’s experience, unlike any other event in Canada. SongRise was so enthusiastically received that a special Millennial Celebration was mounted for New Year’s Eve 1999. ┬áProduced by Laurel Murphy, SongRise 1995 and 1999 events featured Rhiannon, Joey Blake (both founding member of Bobby McFerrin’s “Voicestra”), Ann Mortifee, Sal Ferreras, Jon Washburn, Dee Daniels, Lovie Eli, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, Coco Love Acorn, Pepe Danza, Dave Hatfield, Shari Ulrich, Laurel Murphy and the 150 member SongRise Choir.


SongRise New Year’s Eve offered an experience that was musically and spiritually uplifting, appealing to music lovers as well as those seeking a more meaningful, alcohol-free New Year. In addition to the five-hour musical celebration, other opportunities were provided for participants to mark the New Year in a meaningful way. This included a labyrinth for walking meditation, a wish tree, and opportunities to write and reflect upon the coming year. Planning for another New Year’s event will depend upon funding. Let us know if you can help!


Conductors compose in the moment, communicating parts to the singers by singing to them. Harmonies and interlocking rhythms are added, changed and layered continuously, so that the piece shifts and evolves without ever stopping. For the New Year’s Eve event, the audience is also given parts to sing whenever possible. Three shifts of singers are filtered in and out of the five-hour soundscape in a seamless way and each conductor works for 30-60 minutes. It is. an act of daring and a great artistic challenge for our conductors, requiring skills in composition, improvisation, arranging and conducting.