NORTH ISLAND CHORAL Society musical director Paul Colthorpe was thrilled about the large crowd at the Christmas concert.

Choral Society’s 2013 Chirstmas concert ‘very well-received’

The listeners had a lot of amusement with the choir's tongue-in-cheek rendition of the Spanish carol Fum, Fum, Fum...

The North Island Choral Society is basking in the success of their very well-received Christmas 2013 concert.

Icy road conditions and freezing temperatures were not enough to deter many enthusiastic supporters and lovers of classical choral music from attending the two concerts.

“All the rehearsal effort was worth it and, amazingly, audience attendance was up from the 2012 Christmas concert,” said musical director Paul Colthorpe.

Under the baton of Colthorpe, the choir with the NICS orchestra (leader Linda Donn) and accompanist, Elvera Penner with soloist Amy Lelliott, soprano, gave remarkable breadth to Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, and Antonio Vivaldi’s Magnificat in D Minor.

Choir member, Maggie Shaw, soprano, brought an equally powerful interpretation to Gounod’s Sanctus.

The audience joined the choir in two carols. The listeners had a lot of amusement with the choir’s tongue-in-cheek rendition of the Spanish carol Fum, Fum, Fum. Bass singer Glenn Jackson gave a fair demonstration of the foolish consequence of not counting properly to the clear annoyance of his fellow choristers.

The choir is embarking on rehearsals for their spring concerts. And, of course, they will continue to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The highlight of the coming concerts in April will be the Requiem in D minor (K.626) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

These April concerts should be very popular. In a survey of the spring 2013 concert audience, Mozart was, by a very wide margin, the most-requested composer.

It is one of the greatest ironies of classical music that his Requiem could be the most-often heard and best-loved of Mozart’s works, yet is the one of which he composed the smallest part. The Requiem was far from finished at Mozart’s death in December 1791.

The NICS repertoire covers a broad range within the classical choral repertory. The sensitivity and sound produced by Colthorpe is stunningly good and some think it’s the best on Vancouver Island. Together with accompanist Penner, Colthorpe makes rehearsals a pleasant as well as a challenging experience for the singers.

NICS choir members come mainly from the Comox Valley, although some come from neighbouring Campbell River and elsewhere. New singers join the choir every year. This process of renewal seems to be an ever-increasing circumstance, as is the notable growth in the NICS audiences.

Some singers join the choir for the love of the music. Others may be approaching choral works for the first time. NICS welcomes those of all ages who want to sing classical music and there are no auditions to scare you off! It is truly a community choir.

The 60-strong choir starts its first rehearsal of Mozart’s Requiem on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m. to allow for registration and business. The rehearsals are at Mark Isfeld Secondary School at 1551 Lerwick Rd. in Courtenay. The rehearsals usually start at 7 p.m. and end at 9. The first rehearsal is free.

For more information, visit

— North Island Choral Society

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