Nanaimo’s Island Consort choir rehearses in the basement of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in advance of their Dec. 11 Christmas concert. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo’s Island Consort choir rehearses in the basement of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in advance of their Dec. 11 Christmas concert. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo’s Island Consort choir serenades the season for first time in two years

Vocal group presents ‘Singing for Christmas’ program at St. Andrew’s United Church

A Nanaimo vocal ensemble is joining together in song for the first time in two years.

On Dec. 11, the Island Consort choir is presenting its seasonal program, Singing for Christmas, at St. Andrew’s United Church. It’s the first time the ensemble is performing together since its 2019 Christmas show.

“We had rehearsals going until early March in 2020 but of course we had to scupper the whole thing,” director Bruce Farquharson said.

Although the choir was unable to gather for much of the past year and a half, Farquharson said members still stayed connected virtually.

“We’ve tried to maintain some sort of cohesion by Zoom meetings,” he said. “In the early days we had quiz nights and had a few laughs and also in 2020 I told the group, ‘I’m going to search my library and send you each a song that I think characterizes you.’ So they each got a piece of music which the whole group got to see and hear.”

The Island Consort finally resumed in-person rehearsals in September and Farquharson said he managed to maintain most of his singers and brought in a few replacements so “everything is looking good.”

He said Singing for Christmas will feature a mix of familiar songs and carols, some serious, some more lighthearted.

“Some of them have arrangements and tunes that are not all that familiar, so they’re new in that way,” Farquharson said. “We’ve got a piece in German and a couple of French pieces that are in the mix and we’re going to have a fair bit of accompaniment this time.”

Seven pieces will be performed with organ and a couple more on piano courtesy Nanoose Bay musician Jenny Vincent, a frequent accompanist of the Island Consort.

“I kind of think the organ sounds a little Christmassy,” Farquharson said.

WHAT’S ON … The Island Consort presents Singing for Christmas at St. Andrew’s United Church, 311 Fitzwilliam St., on Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for students, and free for children under 13. Available at the door. Proof of vaccination and masks required.

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