Kokopelli YouTube video tops a half million views

Sometime on the afternoon of February 22, 2018, Kokopelli's YouTube cover of Coldplay's "Fix You" surpassed a jaw-dropping milestone when the 500,000th viewer clicked "Play." The video has been an enduring viral hit ever since it was uploaded in 2013. It has helped build a worldwide audience for our YouTube channel, with over 10,000 new views every week—and a current lifetime total of nearly 1.3 million.

To view "Fix You," click here.

Kokopelli welcomes newest exchange chorister

Kokopelli Choirs are thrilled to welcome their 16th exchange chorister. Sokhi Mfenyana will be living in Edmonton and singing with Kokopelli and Òran until mid-July 2018, representing her home choir (and Kokopelli's South African sister choir) University of Pretoria Youth Choir (UPYC). We look forward to introducing Sokhi to Edmonton audiences, and to providing her with an eventful and fulfilling exchange experience. Welcome, Sokhi!

Journey, the Kokopelli “choir crawl,” is back by popular demand! In a one-of-a-kind musical event, all six Kokopelli Choirs (plus our traditional guests the Brail Tones) will spread out Saturday, May 27 along Edmonton’s Church Street Heritage Area. It’s a literal choral journey, as audience members travel from venue to historic venue along 96 Street. Along the way they’ll enjoy 15-minute sets by each of the choirs.

“We introduced this idea two years ago, and the audience absolutely loved it,” said Kokopelli Artistic Director Scott Leithead. “It created a real festival atmosphere, with people strolling up and down the street to explore buildings and hear choirs. Church Street has so many lovely old venues, and most Edmontonians have never been inside them.”

The afternoon wraps up with a raucous African massed-choir singalong in the park.

Audience members can check in at Sacred Heart Church (10821 96 St.) before 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 27, pick up a map and program, and then choose their own paths through the various performance venues—all within easy walking distance. Tickets ($20, $15 students) are available from individual choristers, from Tix on the Square (tixonthesquare.ca) and at the Sacred Heart door.


Kokopelli welcomes Rajaton (Winspear Apr 12)

Kokopelli is thrilled to welcome (and sing with!) world renowned Finnish vocal ensemble Rajaton, Wednesday, April 12, 7:30 p.m., at the Winspear Centre.

The concert marks the latest chapter in the long-standing friendship and collaboration between our choir and this stunningly talented sextet. Kokopelli has connected with Rajaton for numerous workshops over the years, and has commissioned and premiered several original choral works composed by Rajaton members.

Read a review from a 2014 Rajaton concert at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center

Alumni profiles: Aidan Ferguson

As part of our preparations for our 20th anniversary weekend (June 4-5, 2016), we present a small series of alumni profiles, celebrating the profound and enduring role Kokopelli plays in the lives of many of its choristers.

AidanAidan Ferguson
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In 2000, I was a member of the Edmonton Youth Choir that Scott Leithead was conducting at the time. In the spring of that year I went through an extremely trying time in my life; I felt lost, depressed and alone. I remember being on the phone with Scott on a Sunday night explaining what had happened and he asked me to come to a Kokopelli Choirs rehearsal. I didn’t know how that would change my situation, but I knew well enough to trust Scott.

On Wednesday, my mom drove me to the rehearsal. I was sure I would step into the room and be instantly viewed as the outsider, with questions of “Who is this new girl, we have enough sopranos.” Instead I was greeted with hugs, acceptance and words of excitement that I was there.

That day my life changed.

Music became my way of connecting to people, my way of expressing myself. Scott’s love and support is to this day a driving force in my life. At 18, after only two and a half years in Kokopelli (a short time for most Kokopelli members), I moved to Paris to be a nanny. Before I left, Scott gave me a journal and wrote in the first two pages. Scroll down to view a picture of the second.

I have brought this journal with me all over the world: to Paris when I was a nanny, to Montreal when I moved for University to study music, to countless Opera/Singing gigs around the world, to Africa when my cousin got married, to Switzerland last year when I sang with Theater Basel’s Opera company for a year and now it is here with me in Calgary. I always had intentions to write about my journeys, but of course failed as I am horrible at keeping a journal.

I have read those two pages from Scott hundreds of times, and they always remind me that, even though I am far from those I love, they are supporting my journey and are always there to lean on whenever I need them.

Scott Leithead is more than just a choral conductor; he has an ability not only to see talents, strengths, and beauty in people, but to then guide those people to see those things in themselves. I know my story is just one of the thousands of lives Scott has changed.

He is an inspiration and I am so lucky to have him in my life. Love you, Scooter.

Aidan journal