Longtime Malaspina Choir member Sally Ramsay flips through scrapbooks chronicling the local vocal group’s 50-year history. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Malaspina Choir seeking alumni to join in 50th anniversary celebration

Founding director Bruce More among those returning to mark golden jubilee

A local vocal group is holding its 50th anniversary concert next year and the singers want to celebrate the occasion with as many past members as possible.

It was in December 1970 when Malaspina Choir, then called the Malaspina Choral Association, held its inaugural concert at St. Andrew’s United Church. On May 2 the group returns to that place for Malaspina Choir: Half a Century of Harmony.

Founding director Bruce More is coming back to lead the choristers in song and the choir is hoping he’ll be joined by voices from the past. Malaspina Choir recently announced that alumni are encouraged to contact the group at mal50alumni@gmail.com to be a part of the festivities.

“They’re the foundation, they started it and … it would be nice to honour them in some way,” soprano Sally Ramsay said of the group’s former members.

Ramsay has been part of Malaspina Choir for the past 35 years. She said the group has had 11 directors and “several hundred” members over the years, and while some have moved away or lost touch over the years, once someone sings with the choir, “you kind of have your heart in the choir.”

“I finds it’s an extension of family. I know that sounds kind of trite, but you make really good relationships with people when you’re working with music creating something,” Ramsay said. “It’s like everything in the creative field, I guess. You’re making something together and sometimes you think, ‘This will never come together’ and then suddenly, magically, at the end it all comes out the way it’s supposed to.”

Baritone Rick Evans joined the group in 1990. He said past members usually come back to attend choir concerts and that the 50th anniversary show is a chance for them to reconnect with memorable musical peers.

“I think past members who were there during various directors’ regimes were touched by those directors…” he said. “I think probably we’ll find a lot of them – at least I’m certainly hoping – coming back to see these former directors again.”

Ramsay said supplementing the choir with past members should add to its sound and balance out the ensemble. She said the choir skews female and more male and bass voices are needed. But aside from the technical benefits, Ramsay said there’s a “real joy” in seeing alumni return.

“So often every performance we do we can look on the audience and see former members and they’re all rapt and engaged…” she said. “So we’re hoping to get those people back in to add to our sound and just to feel included again.”

Alumni interested in participating in the 50th anniversary concert can find more information at www.malaspinachoir.com.

WHAT’S ON … Malaspina Choir presents its Sing-along Messiah concert at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 301 Machleary St., on Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for those under 25 and children under 12 get in free. Available from the Port Theatre.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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