Harmonies, singalongs, and acoustic sounds fill St. Nicholas Anglican Church , near Warden and Kingston roads. Performers are part of the ensemble group, Essentia, and are at the Scarborough church to entertain and educate.

Acoustic sounds harvest folk harmonies

An evening of women's voices at St. Nicholas

November ended on an angelic note for a few Scarborough residents.

On Nov. 30, the St. Nicholas Anglican Church hosted the 17th annual Acoustic Harvest night. This year’s theme was An Evening of Women’s Voices.

“Music is my passion and I like bringing people together,” said Lillian Wauthier, artistic director at Acoustic Harvest. “My mandate is to bring the best of acoustic roots music to the east end of Toronto and expose these wonderful artists that some people may not know of.”

The 12 women performing are from the vocal ensemble, Essentia. They are a collective of professional and budding Ontario singer- songwriters who span musical genres including jazz, folk and blues.

They began the night with a relay passing of harmonies from woman to woman. It showed their solidarity but Wauthier believes it also reflected the significance of the event.

“Nights like this bring the community together and you can feel the power of music transforming lives,” she said. “There’s a woman here whose husband literally just dropped dead and she’s come out. She said she’s coming to be healed.”

All 12 women as they synchronize their voices at the beginning of the show. The women are also apart of the ensemble group, Essentia.
All 12 women as they synchronize their voices at the beginning of the show. The women are also apart of the ensemble group, Essentia. (Tichaon Tapambwa // SCARBOROUGH OBSERVER)

Artist Wendi Hunter spoke to the importance of music in their personal lives.

“Music is how I express all my emotions — the sad, happy and everything in-between,” she said. “It’s really amazing singing with these women. We all have one heart in terms of music and these hearts come together when we perform.”

Mary Bennet dedicated her song, “The Floods,” to Calgary, after experiencing the natural disaster this summer.

Art created by some of the women was also on display.

“To come into this group feels powerful,” said Jane Lewis, whose self-titled EP is out now. “I emailed Wendi three weeks ago to ask her to play my song. We didn’t rehearse. The feeling of being able to do that on stage and trusting that these women are going to come forward and play, it’s really empowering.”

This is the last show in 2013 for the church and also for Essentia.

“We are kind of blessed to have them all on one stage,” said Wauthier.