The Out of the Blue quartet – tenor Kirsten Evenden, lead Christine Smolcic, baritone Shirley Nicholson and bass Rosanna Duffy (clockwise from top) – performs at the upcoming Tidesmen Christmas concert. (Photo submitted)

Nanaimo’s Tidesmen Chorus presents Christmas program at the Ecumenical Centre

All-women Out of the Blue Quartet to appear as guest performers

Male, female and mixed choruses will all be ringing in the season at the Tidesmen Chorus’ upcoming Christmas concert.

It’s Christmas, Again! A (Not so Silent) Night with The Tidesmen comes to the Ecumenical Centre on Dec. 13. At the show, the Nanaimo men’s ensemble will be joined by quartets from its ranks, the local Out of the Blue all-women quartet and the Tidesmen will be debuting their new mixed group, Rising Tide.

Tidesmen member and vice president of marketing Steve Price-Francis said Rising Tide was formed as a training group for new male members and designed to be a smaller unit to perform in smaller venues. After the international organization the Tidesmen belong to, the Barbershop Harmony Society, started allowing women to join, the Tidesmen decided to turn Rising Tide into their mixed choir.

“At the moment there are about 14, 15 members but we expect to see that expand and to develop it to a self-functioning mixed chorus in its own right,” said Price-Francis, who sings in Rising Tide with his wife.

Out of the Blue – bassist Rosanna Duffy, tenor Kirsten Evenden, baritone Shirley Nicholson and lead Christine Smolcic – performed at the Tidesmen’s spring show and Duffy said they were “thrilled” to be asked to come back.

“We love performing with the Tidesmen. They’ve got such a great name in the community. Everybody really loves them,” she said. “So we feel really fortunate to be aligned with them and being able to perform onstage with them and they’re a lot of fun. They’re very supportive. We learn a lot from them.”

Out of the Blue will be performing the traditional Huron Carol, as well as playful, poppy songs like Santa Baby and Holly Jolly Christmas, but with a bit of a twist.

“We always like to choose songs that people recognize but sometimes have a bit of a different flair to it,” Duffy said.

The Tidesmen have some new Christmas repertoire for this year, Price-Francis said, similarly ranging from more traditional songs to compositions of the contemporary variety to “capture everything about the season.”

“We recognize that we have a very solid base of followers and the majority of those people do love the traditional songs, so we never want to spurn those for the sake of more modern material, for example,” Price-Francis said. “But we do like to mix it up.”

WHAT’S ON … It’s Christmas, Again! A (Not so Silent) Night with The Tidesmen at the Ecumenical Centre, 6234 Spartan Rd., on Friday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets $20, $5 for accompanied children under 16, available at Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery, Arbutus Music, from members and online.

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