Jeremy Roszmann said he doesn’t remember the last time he performed in his hometown, but that changes on Sunday, Jan. 6 when the Nanaimo-raised bass baritone holds a benefit concert at Hope Lutheran Church.
Roszmann will be joined by Vancouver soprano Rebecca Collett in Singing for a Healthy World, a fundraiser for Canadian Lutheran World Relief and Save the Mothers, a Canadian charity which supports mothers in Uganda and for which Collett serves as director of communications. The concert was arranged by the singers’ parents, who all attend Hope Lutheran.
“When my mom proposed that we do a recital in Nanaimo, I kind of jumped at the opportunity,” said Roszmann, who now lives in Victoria. “It just seems like it’s been well overdue so I’m really happy to be able to come back home.”
He added that raising money for causes he care about was an added motivation.
“The two charities that this benefit concert’s supporting, they’re really important and they’re really well-run charities, so that kind of really struck me,” he said.
Roszmann and Collett have spent the past two months putting together a repertoire for the show. This is the first time the singers will share a stage and Roszmann said they’ll be performing a good mixture of Canadiana, folk music, musical theatre and art songs in multiple languages.
“We talked a lot about it at length about if we should theme it around specific languages or composers or characters and there are many ways to build a recital and the repertoire choice is probably the hardest part of doing it,” he said. “At the end of the day we did just sort of say, “What do you want to sing and what do you think people are going to want to hear?’”
Roszmann will be singing songs that have sentimental value, from classical French chansons to Maritime bard Stan Rogers. He said songs like Barrett’s Privateers bring him back to childhood road trips and campfires at Shuswap Lake.
The duo will also “explore the opera world.”
“Both Rebecca and I are trained as opera singers first and foremost so it’s always nice to go back and sing that kind of stuff and it really does mean so much to me to be able to sing those things because it’s something that we don’t hear a lot,” Roszmann said.
And sharing those songs with a friendly hometown crowd while raising money for charity will make it all the more meaningful.
“To actually get a chance to sing for friends that haven’t really probably heard me since I did a show back in college close to 10 years ago now, or for people that maybe used to listen to me sing when I was doing festival when I was 16, it’s always lovely to have that kind of support group and get to share singing with them,” Roszmann said. “It’s very, very special to all of us.”
WHAT’S ON … Rebecca Collett and Jeremy Roszmann present Singing for a Healthy World at Hope Lutheran Church, 2174 Departure Bay Rd., on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 2:30 p.m. Admission by donation. Donations of $20 of more receive tax receipts.