Choirs raise voices for church

St. Paul's 150th anniversary marked with concert

Singers from three choirs will raise their voices to celebrate the 150th anniversary of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in downtown Nanaimo.

Festive Choral Evensong,  on Sunday (Oct. 16) at 4:30 p.m. in the church, features the combined voices of three local choirs – Bel Canto Singers, Island Consort, and St. Paul’s Church Choir.

Music to be sung will include works and settings by Stainer, Palastrina, Holst, Fauré, and Stanford. The congregation will be invited to join in some of the hymns.

The Bel Canto Singers is a 24-voice women’s choir that has been together since 1997. Its current artistic director is Lionel Tanod.

The choir practises regularly at St. Paul’s church.

Island Consort was founded in 2007 with only nine singers whose repertoire emphasized early music.

It has grown to 20 singers and the repertoire expanded to include later and contemporary works. Founder and music director is Bruce Farquharson.

St. Paul’s Church Choir has a long history in the city. Nanaimo’s first mayor, Mark Bate, was a member of St. Paul’s Choir in the 1870s.

The current 20-voice choir has been under the leadership of music director Peter Orme for the past six years.

Orme was born and raised in England, having received his training as an organ scholar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Coming to Canada in 1969, he served as director of music at two churches in Ontario, before becoming an Anglican priest. After 30 years he retired in 2005 to Nanaimo to pursue his true love, church music.

While here, he has appeared on several occasions as harpsichordist and organist with various instrumental and choral groups, and for the last four years has been offering the Music at Midday organ recitals at St. Paul’s on the second Wednesday of each month.

The event is open to all. Donations through free-will offering will go toward the church’s roof repair fund.