Singers welcome light on darkest night

NANAIMO - A winter solstice concert with Cari Burdett and special guests is being held at the Nanaimo Harbour City Theatre Dec. 20.

Sarah Wood

On the darkest day of the year, Vancouver Island singers will bring a little light into people’s lives with music.

Residents can enjoy the operatic voice of Cowichan Valley singer Cari Burdett and the melodic voices of Nanaimo singers Sarah Wood and Talia Bowell during the Winter Solstice Concert with Cari Burdett and Friends Sunday (Dec. 20).

“It’s going to be a great evening of music and I’m hoping to fill the house,” said Burdett.

She studied classical voice and opera. However, Burdett said she possesses a collaborative spirit and sought greater opportunities to mix genres and work with other artists. This collaborative passion comes through on her latest album, Magnolia. It’s a merging of opera, jazz and folk. On the album she sings a mix of classic and original songs.

“I don’t shy away from opera, but I don’t sing opera. I’m just trying to be honest about all the parts of myself,” said Burdett. “I’m trying to find a way not being shy about my operatic training but not being exclusive. I am not afraid of layers. I adore them. I think they create different colours.”

Burdett is also a music producer, teacher and owner of the Lila Music Centre. She also founded the Cowichan Community Threshold Singers, a group of people who sing to terminally ill patients. She started the group eight years ago, inspired by Kate Munger who started the original Threshold Singers group in the United States.

“It was like an arrow that shot to my heart,” said Burdett about why she started the group in Cowichan. “We go to care homes and sing at people’s bedsides. It basically is about offering love.”

Offering love and sharing people’s holiday wishes is also a big part of Burdett’s winter solstice concert. During the concert she invites audience members to write down their wishes or prayers for the coming year. These sentiments are placed in a box and Burdett and the other performers take them out one at a time and create a song out of them.

“It’s quite a beautiful moment,” said Burdett.

During the concert people can expect to listen to a diverse selection of music. The performers will sing classic fiddle and piano songs, a rendition of The Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun, Baby It’s Cold Outside, and others.

“It’s a journey. It’s not one genre. It’s a mixture,” she said.

The concert is at 7 p.m. at the Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd. Tickets are $24.15 and are available at

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