The soloists for Malaspina Choir’s upcoming concert are (from left) Mari Lyn Kelly, Ross Rowledge and Rick Evans (front row); Hugh Sinnott, Christine McMahon and Gail Smith and Roni Harrison (middle row); and Marcus Slotiuk, Karen Hunter, Hope Leith and Sydney Preston (back row). (Photo courtesy Kathryn-Jane Hazel)

Malaspina Choir showcases its solo talent in a ‘Choral Celebration’

This year the Nanaimo vocal group is celebrating its 50th anniversary

By Kathryn-Jane Hazel

They range in age from Gen-Xers to seniors. They’ve sung in bands, folk clubs, musicals, barbershop quartets, community choirs and professional opera companies.

They’ve played a clarinet in a marching band, cello in the symphony, plus French horn, guitar and piano. They’ve studied voice with vocal teachers, or at universities and professional academies.

Some have learned everything they know about choral singing from participating in community choirs. Some have been in a choir for three years, others for close to 40.

They’ve performed in Japan, Germany, New York and across Canada, as well as in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, singing everything from folk to jazz to classical music.

They’re the 11 Malaspina Choir members who will be singing solos and duets at the choir’s fall concert on Nov. 17, and it’s all for the love of choral music and the camaraderie it brings.

When asked what they like best about being in the choir, their answers range from singing very high notes and making music with others, to meeting like-minded musical friends and stretching their vocal capabilities.

And having a choir director like Lionel Tanod, who provides so much enthusiasm and positive reinforcement, as well as expertise, makes the rehearsals fun, they say, even when the music is challenging – or maybe because it is.

Choral Celebration: Vivaldi to Whitacre takes place at St. Andrew’s United Church on Sunday, Nov. 17 and it is the first of several events to mark the choir’s 50th anniversary.

These will culminate in a gala concert on May 2, 2020, featuring guest appearances by former choir directors and the Nanaimo Youth Choir, plus the premiere of a commissioned choral work by renowned composer Don MacDonald.

The Nov. 17 concert is vintage Malaspina Choir in its versatility, a romp through four centuries of choral music from Vivaldi to Whitacre, with genres from sacred to jazz, from a lullaby to a drinking song.

Along with accompanist Cheryl Satre, the choir will welcome its friends from the Nanaimo music community, the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra, organist Jenny Vincent and cellist Brendan Millbank.

WHAT’S ON … Malaspina Choir presents Choral Celebration: Vivaldi to Whitacre, at St. Andrew’s United Church, 311 Fitzwilliam St., on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for youth under 25 and children under 12 get in free. Tickets available at the Port Theatre box office, from choir members or at the door.

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