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    A fitting tribute

    Queen's EngChoir debuts new choral piece commemorating victims of École Polytechnique massacre.

    The EngChoir will debut a new choral piece at the National Day of Action to Prevent Violence Against Women. (Supplied Photo)

    In a special tribute, the Queen's University EngChoir is debuting a new choral piece at the National Day of Action to Prevent Violence Against Women. The memorial on Dec. 6 commemorates the 14 lives lost at the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre. Of the women who died that day, 12 were engineering students.

    Fourth-year engineering student and EngChoir Director of Performance Monet Slinowsky worked with Canadian composer David W. Roe and Canadian poet Grace Butler Difalco to write the choral piece Chrysalides. For Slinowsky, the song has very deep meaning.

    “It represents the women that died during the massacre as the pupa in a cocoon just before it emerges as a beautiful butterfly,” she explains. “These women will never have the chance to spread their wings to become butterflies. The chance was stolen from them.”

    Slinowsky met Dr. Roe through a Facebook community for choir leaders. The retired high school music teacher whose compositions have been performed across North America contacted her and asked if he could compose a song for the event. He also suggested he could collaborate with Difalco as he had worked with her in the past.

    Difalco is the author of three books of poetry and her one poem Keepers of the Light was set to music and performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during their 1997 visit to Newfoundland.

    “When I first heard it, I thought it was beautiful and it has really resonated with the choir,” Slinowsky says. “We’ve been working hard to learn the piece and everyone has been very motivated. We are now putting on the final touches.”

    The public is welcome at the memorial service Thursday, Dec. 6 starting at 1 pm in Beamish-Munro Hall.