The Island Voices Choir in its first year flanks founder Frances Keen (centre, in dark top).

Island Voices Gala celebrates 20 years of musical excellence

It’s time to celebrate! On Jan. 26 and 27, Island Voices will be putting on their finest duds, breaking out the bubbly, and hosting an elegant concert to mark 20 years of musical excellence.

Working from suggestions by members, alumni and fans, Musical Director Jenn Forsland has chosen an outstanding set of repertoire that will remember the old and celebrate the new.

Seated at tables with white linen and enjoying gourmet appetizers, audience members will hear an assortment of pieces that will take us on a trip down memory lane.

From Renaissance pieces Il est Bel et Bon and O Magnum Mysterium to the contemporary Flight Song, from the Cuban rhythms of Son de la Loma to the Balinese sounds of Gamelan, from the haunting Northwest Passage to the bombastic Jabberwocky, the evening will certainly provide a variety of entertainment.

Founded by the late Frances Keen, Island Voices Chamber Choir has committed themselves to “singing excellent music excellently.”

But they are also known for their “family feel” and, for this concert, the choir has invited their alumni to join them for a few numbers, including the spiritual Every Time I Feel the Spirit.

Former director Jo-Anne Preston will resume the conductor’s role for a couple of favourites, and a special treat will be hearing Michelle Weckesser return as soloist in The Rain is Over and Gone.

But as much as the choir will remember the past, they are also continuing Island Voices’ tradition of exploring new musical realms.

The World Beloved, a most remarkable and unusual bluegrass mass, unites the choir with such fine professional musicians as Cam Boyce on violin, Jeff Drummond on guitar, Chad Pabianek on banjo, Robin Sutmöller on mandolin and John Hyde on bass.

The choir has been working hard to perfect this composition, which is sure to have the audience both feeling inspired and tapping their toes.

In order to make this event even more memorable, Island Voices will use a unique format and special venues. On Friday, Jan. 26, they will perform at the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay, and on Saturday, Jan. 27, they will be at the Eagles Hall in Campbell River.

Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., and there will be not only music, but displays celebrating the choir’s 20 year history.

Tickets for these concerts are available at The Music Plant (Campbell River), the Blue Heron Bookstore (Comox), and Benjamin Moore House of Colour (Courtenay).

All tickets to the gala are $30, and those purchasing eight tickets at once may reserve a table.

For further information call 250-898-4773 (Comox Valley) or 250-923-0303 (Campbell River).