By Kathryn-Jane Hazel
Like many vocal artists on Vancouver Island, soprano Skye Donald struggles to balance the requirement of earning a living and following her musical dreams.
She juggles running an alpaca farm in Errington with her husband, Randy, while working as a choir director at St. Stephen’s United Church in Qualicum Beach and performing.
But maintaining the farm can limit the amount of time she can sing, which is why she welcomes the opportunity to perform with groups such as Nanaimo’s Malaspina Choir.
“Singing is my calling. It’s one of my spiritual gifts. I have lots of interests and other skills, but none fulfill me like singing does,” she said.
Donald is the soloist in Mozart’s Solemn Vespers of the Confessor for the Malaspina Choir’s concert, Jubilate, at the ET Family Church, located at 1300 Princess Royal Ave, Sunday (April 7).
Born in Nanaimo and raised in Parksville, vocal music had been a powerful influence in Donald’s life since adolescence. It was, she recalls, the cruelty and kindness of others that led her to singing.
The transition from elementary to middle school was brutal for her. Somehow the word got out in her church community that she needed help, and she was invited to join the adult choir.
Members of the choir encouraged and supported her through what was a miserable time, financing her attendance at music camps, and the choir director gave her free singing lessons.
“In high school, she even took me to a music conference where I met my future husband, who is a choral singer, too. Music saved my life,” said Donald.
Her talent was fostered through participation in local community, church and school choirs. She studied voice locally with Sharon Wishart before entering the music program at Douglas College.
She has participated in Vancouver Island Opera’s recital series and provided solos for the Parksville and District Community Choir as well as the Malaspina Choir.
Donald also sings with the Island Consort, a Nanaimo-based chamber choir, regularly providing solos for the group
“Part of me will always dream that eventually the right person will hear me sing, and I will find my way into an operatic role,” she said. “Really, though, my biggest hope is that I will always just keep singing – that I will always find a way to share my gift.”
Tickets for the concert are $20/$15 students/$5 for eyeGo and are available by calling 250-754-8550, www.porttheatre.com, at the Port Theatre box office, located at 125 Front St., or at the door.