Saturday’s choir festival a community event

International Choral Festival features Friday reception at CMRT, 7 choirs from B.C. and U.S.

There’s a lot of buzz around this weekend’s International Choral Festival, to be held Saturday, April 12, at the Alliance Church in Cranbrook.

The event is hosted by the Bissett Singers, and they will be joined by choirs from throughout B.C. and Washington: the Appleaires women’s choir and Apollo Club men’s choir from Wenatchee, Washington; the Washington Camerata Club from Yakima, Washington; the Washington Village Voices from Leavenworth, Washington; the Naramata Community Choir from Naramata, B.C., and the Trail Harmony Choir.

Jim Abbott, one of the organizers, says an opening reception on Friday at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel,  from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. also bodes to be a great event.

“We’ll be having a beer tasting from the Heid Out, and a wine tasting from Wynnwood Cellars in Creston, as well as a cash wine and beer bar. There’ll be live music, and tours of a few of the train sets for our visitors. So it’s going to be quite a celebration.”

Cranbrook’s Bisset Singers, who have been members of the festival for six years, were invited to host the festival in 2014. As hosts, the Bisset Singers were able to invite another choir to join the festival. They choose the Cranbrook Elementary Schools Mass Choir.

“It gives the kids an opportunity — certainly at their age — to be able to sing with a mass choir, particularly with the choirs coming in from west of us,” Abbott said. “I think it will be a very memorable event for them.

“I went to all of the elementary schools in Cranbrook, and spoke with all the principals who were universally supportive and encouraging, and their teachers have been diligent in working on this. And this means parents’ involvement too.

“So it’s very much a community event.”

All festival performances are held at the Alliance Church. The afternoon matinee performance is from 2:30 to 5 p.m. The evening performance is 7 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

“The thing that’s going to be different, and exciting, is that we’re going to have the adult mass choir seated at the back of the auditorium, and the kids will be at the front on risers at the front of the church. So they will actually be singing back and forth to each other. It’s going to be quite spectacular.”

About 650 tickets will be available for each performance, and are on sale at Lotus Books.