MUSICAL DIRECTOR PAUL Colthorpe leads North Island Choral Society singers.

North Island Choral Society gearing up for ‘season of song’

For this season, two choral works have been chosen and both will be performed in each of two concerts...

Another season of song is approaching. This is why the North Island Choral Society is ready to rehearse for their ever-popular Christmas concerts.

The North Island Choral Society has been singing to audiences for 30 years. Founded in 1983 by a few Comox Valley choral music friends, it has grown to a community choir of 50 plus singers led by gifted musical director Paul Colthorpe and accompanied by talented pianist Elvera Penner.

The choir’s interim president Bårbel Raynolds says, “Clearly, we have a very good reason to celebrate this year! We’ve been giving music a voice over these many years and we have come a long way.

“The pieces chosen for our next concerts will show the musical challenges we put before ourselves, and the commitments we make to perform well. When we sing, the pleasure we get is from being well received by our audiences. It is worth all the effort.”

For this season, two choral works have been chosen and both will be performed in each of two concerts. Antonio Vivaldi’s Magnificat in G minor is divided into nine movements.

It is not a long piece of music, lasting about 20 minutes. The music is an excellent example of choral work through the 1600s to early 1700s — the Baroque period.

In contrast, the British 20th century composer Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols is also included in the program. 2013 marks a century since Britten was born. It is said his musical language is singular and can be as disconcerting as much as it is ravishing.

After three very successful years in the USA, he boarded a cargo vessel in March 1942 to return to Britain. On board, in New York, he was seen writing a piece for the Benny Goodman orchestra, which was confiscated by U.S. customs officials, thinking it was a secret code.

The vessel berthed at Halifax to join a convoy, where Britten came across a book of medieval poems, which he set to music during the voyage and called the work Ceremony of Carols.

Choir rehearsals start at 7 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Mark Isfeld Secondary School. “The rehearsals last two hours,” says Raynolds. “We welcome all who want to sing this kind of music. There are no auditions. We are especially looking for more tenors. So do come and join us.”

For more information, visit northislandchoral.wordpress.com.

— North Island Choral Society

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