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). Photo submitted

Cantiamo Choir hosts 20-year reunion concert in Courtenay

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.

Choosing the June 30 concert repertoire was no easy feat for director Riley. With 20 years of history, Cantiamo has performed well over 100 different concerts with its countless members. Every performance piece would have been chosen to showcase the amazing skills of the choir of the time. Each year, Cantiamo singers would have their favourite charts.

For the Sid Williams performance, the set list includes old favourites like Danny Boy, a crowd pleaser called Make Lemonade and a current piece from the musical Dear Evan Hanson (You Will Be Found). Cantiamo will demonstrate their multi-genre skills with the madrigal Fair Phyllis, the 1608 Latin motet Sicut Cervus and the African Dubula.

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.

This is a concert 20 years in the making, a must-attend performance by an outstanding choir

. 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)

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