The North Island Choral Society has been singing to the Comox Valley community for 24 years.
Their spring 2012 performance of Haydn’s Creation with local soloists and gifted musicians was hailed as “about as good as it gets anywhere on Vancouver Island.”
Choir members come mainly from the Comox Valley, although some come from Campbell River. Long-term members are joined every year by new singers from the Valley and others, who are often new residents to our area. The choir welcomes those of all ages who want to sing, and there are no auditions to scare you off!
Musical director Paul Colthorpe, known to some School District 71 (Comox Valley) students as Mr. C., brings delightful enthusiasm and encouragement to every rehearsal and every performance. And this is after a hard day of teaching. He has conducted the choir for more years than he cares to admit.
Accompanist Elvera Penner provides a professionalism that makes her piano playing a key to the choir’s understanding of the music. With Colthorpe conducting and Penner playing sensitive accompaniment, rehearsals are efficient and rewarding for the singers.
No wonder the choir produces such a great sound at a concert! Like Colthorpe, Penner has been giving pianoforte support to the choir for more years than she’ll admit.
The fall rehearsal session is already focusing on performances in December 2012. Two distinct, yet seasonal shows are under rehearsal.
The first will include William Byrd’s famous Ave Verum Corpus. Byrd is acknowledged as one of the great composers of the English Renaissance.
Included in the program are also two pieces by the contemporary English composer, John Rutter. The Star Carol is one of his songs you know but didn’t know what it was! The other, the Gloria, he composed for a choir in Nebraska. This piece, too, has been a much-performed favourite, especially in Canada and the U.S.
The concert will be rounded out with a chorus by the mid-baroque Danish/German composer Dietrich Buxtehude.
The second concert will bring back the crowd-pleasing singalong Messiah. This is always a sold-out event with the audience of all ages joining in with the North Island Choral Society singers.
George Frideric Handel’s Messiah has been a regular part of the Comox Valley Christmas season.
The 60-strong choir rehearses every Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Mark Isfeld Secondary School in Courtenay. Membership is $50 (students $30) for the fall session and similarly for the spring session.
New members are always welcome and if you want to sing great classical sacred and secular choral music, come and join the choir.
For more information, visit northislandchoral.wordpress.com.
— North Island Choral Society