Cantiamo Chamber Ensemble, one of the Valley’s premier choirs, is celebrating 20 years of excellence with a reunion choir concert on Sunday, June 30 at the Sid Williams Theatre.
Conductor and founder Jennifer Riley started the choir in 1999 to give current and graduating high school students in the Comox Valley an opportunity to continue singing challenging, quality repertoire.
For many years, Cantiamo was designated a youth ensemble, performing a wide variety of music of differing genres, from classical to modern.
Today, Cantiamo is an auditioned choir that still honours Riley’s original intent but many members just refused to leave. Matt Allen is one of those original singers, and his gorgeous bass voice has been a foundation of the choir for the past 17 years.
Other longtime members include Shelley Crysler (Brown), Mataya Windle, Amanda Colville, David Bacica and Anna Horel. Cantiamo singers are now juggling full-time jobs, children and busy lives but they continue to love what the choir has to offer them – a community of dedicated, joyful and extremely talented musicians under the guidance of a master teacher.
The 68-member reunion choir will see the return of many loved performers. All three of the Warren family (Tyrell, Zander and Dallas [Carriere]) will be singing on the 30th. Alexis Fells is delighted to be performing with her brother Cam Masterton and husband Morgan Fells. Brothers Brian and Kevin Paterson are looking forward to singing together again. Emma Makinson (Tompkins) and Dean Walls not only sang for years in Cantiamo but performed as Anne and Gilbert in Rainbow Youth Theatre’s 1998 Anne of Green Gables. Nathan Hoffart and John Fitzgerald may be remembered as Les Mis’s Valjean and Javert many years ago.
The evening’s entertainment will include standard choral repertoire, gospel praises, complicated modern songs and foreign language challenges. There is a song for everyone’s taste in music.
. Tickets for Cantiamo Chamber Ensemble, June 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sid Williams Theatre are $29.50 and available at the Sid box office or online (www.sidwilliamstheatre.com)