John Zeweniuk will is the bass soloist for the Malaspina Choir’s upcoming concert, Musica Magnifica. (Photo courtesy Kathryn-Jane Hazel)

From shy singer to confident chorister

Meet the Malaspina Choir’s bass soloist, John Zeweniuk

by Kathryn-Jane Hazel

Special to the News Bulletin

John Zeweniuk never had any ambition to be a singer when he was growing up. Sure, he loved singing, but doing a solo where everyone could hear him — that was another story.

However, it wasn’t until he was a teenager and had a job washing dishes in a restaurant where all of the employees sang as they worked that he lost his inhibitions.

Flash forward some 25 years later, and he’s the bass soloist in Bach’s Magnificat in D being performed by the 60-member Malaspina Choir at its fall concert, Musica Magnifica on Nov. 19.

To audition for the part of one of the composer’s most technically demanding works, according to Bach scholar John Eliot Gardiner, the 45-year-old memorized his solo and sang it off-book.

Classical music was not always his favourite. Like his father, Zeweniuk was more of a jazz and blues fan, although his mother made sure he took Suzuki violin lessons as a child.

But after he was an adult and took up the violin again, he found he loved it. And when Malaspina Choir music director Lionel Tanod invited him to join the choir three years ago, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I like being inside the music, learning the music and being part of the process, “ he said. “I think it’s really fascinating the way it works, from the first day when we sing.”

And singing the choral work of his favourite composer is a special pleasure. Zeweniuk will be joined by soloists Mari Lyn Kelly, soprano, Elise Boulanger, soprano, Julia Morgan, alto, and Adam Dyjach, tenor.

Along with the Magnificat, the concert features Haydn’s anthem Insanae et Vanae Curae, and works by Brahms, Berlioz and Schutz. The second half of the concert includes music by contemporary composers John Rutter and Morten Lauridsen.

Musica Magnifica brings together the Malaspina Choir, the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra, the Victoria Brass, organist Peter Orme, and the choir’s award-winning accompanist, Sharon Wishart, all under Tanod’s direction.

WHAT’S ON … Malaspina Choir presents Musica Magnifica on Nov. 19 at St. Andrew’s United Church at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for those under 25 and $5 for high school eyeGO passes. Children under 12 are free. Tickets available at the Port Theatre.

Just Posted

‘Prolific offender’ pleads guilty to Nanaimo bait car theft charges

Jordan Daniel Plamondon, 27, receives six-month jail sentence

City of Nanaimo staff busy with flurry of FOI requests

City clerk says municipality on track to receive 600 freedom of information requests in 2018

Traffic routes shuffled as roadwork continues

Drive with caution through city roadwork zones or find alternative routes to avoid delays

City council won’t accept more than a two-per-cent tax increase

Financial plan amendment bylaw fails on first reading in 5-4 vote

Alcohol wasn’t a factor in collision between van and motorcycle in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP provide update on investigation into serious collision earlier this month

Nanaimo paramedics part of Team Canada

Team will travel to Czech Republic next month for international competition

Nanaimo buses first to get new technology

NextRide technology will help riders pinpoint where buses are and predicted arrival times

Baseball teams split series, will try to settle things

VIU and UFV each won two games this past weekend, they play two more Wednesday

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

MLA Stilwell chairing B.C. Liberals’ new affordability committee

Opposition thinking about election readiness

Police look for hit-and-run suspect after senior struck

Incident occurred April 17 at about 3 p.m. at Selby and Fitzwilliam streets

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

Most Read