North Island Choral Society celebrating special anniversaries for spring concert

Rehearsals begin Jan. 9

Following two successful concerts in the fall, the North Island Choral Society resumes rehearsals on Jan. 9 at Mark Isfeld Secondary School, 1551 Lerwick Road, Courtenay for its spring presentation.

The choir provides a unique musical opportunity in the Comox Valley. Its repertoire covers a broad range of classical choral music, generally involving 80 singers, a supporting orchestra of 20-25 musicians (Corrine Innes, concertmaster) and up to five soloists. The choir and orchestra are under the direction Paul Colthorpe, who has provided his able leadership for more than 23 years. His musical partner at the piano is Elvera Penner, whose masterful accompaniment makes the rehearsals so enjoyable and successful.

Many classical composers have special anniversaries in 2018 and this spring, Paul Colthorpe leads us on a delightful journey with a few of them.

Charles Gounod was born 200 years ago and lived a full 75 years, so the anniversary of his death is 125 years – three significant numbers. His Messe Solennelle en l’Honneur de Sainte Cecile in G Major, sung in Latin, will comprise the first half of the program.

Written for St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music and performed in Paris on her day, Nov. 22, the vocal parts of the mass are performed by three soloists (soprano, tenor and bass) and a choir of four parts, sometimes with divided tenor and bass. The soloists act mostly as an ensemble, without arias.

The second half of the concert, sung in Latin, French and Russian, will celebrate many special anniversaries. It will feature works by the Renaisssance composer, Jacques Arcadelt, who died 450 years ago in 1568. François Couperin was born 350 years ago, while Sergei Rachmaninoff died 75 years ago.

The orchestra will feature works by Claude Debussy, who died 100 years ago. Last but not least is Scott Joplin, who was born 150 years ago (although some report his birth as 1867, his tombstone reads 1868.) Either way, we will hear instrumental selections of Joplin’s played by a guest pianist.

This community choir is non-auditioned and open to all who want to sing classical music. The first session is free to those who are joining for the first time, and begins at 6:30 p.m. to allow for registration and distribution of the music.

Membership is $50 (students – $30), which includes the music. The regular rehearsal time is from 7-9 p.m. every Tuesday evening and the spring concerts will take place Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13.

For more information: northislandchoral.ca

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