For six years Brian Tate has been at the helm of the Island Soul Choir.
He celebrates his final performance with the choir Sunday (May 26) during a concert at the Port Theatre at 2:30 p.m.
“Brian is renowned internationally for his composing skills and arrangements. He has a huge wealth of knowledge around world music,” said Penny Mitchell, communications chairwoman for the organization.
He was involved when the choir was created and he also began a soul choir in Vancouver. He came over to the Island once a month to rehearse with members but with commitments to his other choirs he was beginning to have no weekends left to spend with his family. He’s passing the lead to Karla Mundy who has been co-directing for the last year and a half.
“It allowed her to get her feet wet gradually instead of just jumping into the deep end of the pool,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell said both conductors are keen about people learning music by listening not just reading off the written page.
“It’s really the opposite of what choirs are about,” she said.
The celebration concert features traditional West-African and Afro-Cuban songs. Members will sing When I Go Away by Levon Helm, Black Betty, Guantanamera, I’ve Got A Testimony and others.
Members just returned from a performance tour and cultural exchange in Cuba. During the exchange the members also toured a school where students learned many artistic mediums such as ballet, painting, music and more.
Tickets are $22.50/$5 for eyeGo or children under 12 and are available by calling 250-754-8550 or www.porttheatre.com. The concert features special guests Soul Patrol and TriVo.
The choir has partnered with the NanGo Grannies and the Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers for the event. The two organizations will be selling homemade and artisan crafts in the lobby, before, after the concert and during intermission. Proceeds from the sales go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which helps grandmothers in Africa raise their grandchildren who have been orphaned by AIDS. According to the foundation about 40 to 60 per cent of orphans live in grandmother-headed households in southern Africa.