Island Bel Canto Singers celebrate 20 year anniversary with concert, Here’s to Song, Saturday (May 6) at Christ Community Church and May 13 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Image Contributed

Island Bel Canto Singers celebrate 20 year anniversary with concert, Here’s to Song, Saturday (May 6) at Christ Community Church and May 13 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Image Contributed

Island Bel Canto Singers celebrate 20 years of song and fellowship

Choir hosts two concerts in Nanaimo to mark milestone

BY LAURENE COLEMAN

It’s not quite as big an event as Canada’s 150th birthday, but marking twenty years of singing for Nanaimo has Island Bel Canto Singers ready to celebrate.

This all-women’s choir, entertaining Nanaimo audiences for two decades now, presents the concert Here’s to Song.

Artistic director Sharon Sinclair has chosen a program with a variety of songs from concerts past and exciting new pieces, honouring the vital place that music, singing and songs have in people’s lives. Sinclair is known in Nanaimo as director of the Sinclair Singers and a member of the Island Consort Chamber Choir.

Sinclair, a lifelong choral music lover, said “singing in a group has a way of opening us up to many wonderful experiences, and is good for us on so many levels – emotionally, physically, spiritually. I can’t imagine a life without song.”

The concert theme piece Here’s to Song by acclaimed Canadian composer Alister MacGillivray is a tribute to the way music and friendship are intertwined. The American folk hymn How Can I Keep from Singing? is an upbeat a cappella piece that celebrates life and creation.

The program also includes pieces such as a lively arrangement of Tell My Ma, an a cappella four-part harmony rendition of Over the Rainbow, and Gershwin favorite Summertime.

The Chamber Ensemble, a smaller group within the main choir, will sing Gartan Mother’s Lullaby, based on an old Irish song and poem, sprinkled with Irish mythological names and place names. Another traditional Irish melody sung by the chamber choir, Spinning Wheel arranged by Mark Sirett, tells of a young maid who slips away to be with her lover under the moon.

Island Bel Canto Singers present special guests Flute Cocktail. Choir accompanist and pianist Pat Rustand joins Bonnie Stebbings and Karen Withers-Janssen on flutes in an instrumental interlude.

Island Bel Canto Singers will perform Here’s to Song in Nanaimo on Saturday (May 6) at 2:30 p.m. at Christ Community Church, located at 2221 Bowen Rd., and on May 13 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, located at 4235 Departure Bay Rd.

The May 13 concert will feature several alumni joining the choir for the last two songs to honour twenty years of song and fellowship.

Tickets are $15 for adults, children twelve and under are admitted for free. Tickets are available at the door or by visiting www.islandbelcanto.com.

For more information, please visit the choir’s website or call Fiona at 250-714-4933.

Laurene Coleman is the marketing chairwoman of the Island Bel Canto Singers.