During the May long weekend the Kimberley Community Choir (KCC) will be welcoming singers from across B.C. for BC Chorfest 2019.
KCC will rehearse with the other groups for two days, before performing a public concert on Sunday, May 19 at 3 p.m. at the Kimberley Conference Centre. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Snowdrift Cafe in Kimberley, or Huckleberry Books in Cranbrook. Youth entry is by donation at the door.
Kimberley Choir Conductor Marta Zeegers says KCC is looking forward to the event, and explained how they got involved in Chorfest.
“Singers come as individuals to Chorfest from around the province,” said Zeegers. “From the East and West Kootenays, to Vancouver Island and the Mainland, to the Central and Northern Interior, singers will travel to Kimberley to sing together, make new friends and renew acquaintances with others who make this annual journey.”
Zeegers adds that the Kimberley Community Choir is a member choir of the British Columbia Choral Federation, a provincial organization that aims to promote the art of choral singing in B.C.. Chorfest is their annual flagship event that takes place in May, and travels around the province.
“This brings the opportunity for choristers in more remote places to take part in this event without having to travel as far. The last time Chorfest was in the Kootenays was in 1998, in Nelson, so Kimberley was offered the opportunity to host the event this year,” she said. “The Cranbrook and Fernie Community Choirs under the direction of David Pasivirta, are also joint host-choirs, meaning several of their members are also learning the music and assisting with the organization.”
The KCC and other choirs involved in Chorfest will get the experience of having conductor Bob Chilcott direct the adult choir.
“We are extremely fortunate to welcome Bob Chilcott to Kimberley this year,” she said. “Mr. Chilcott is a giant in the world of choral music, as a conductor, composer and sought-after clinician. You may recognize his name from his time with the King’s Singers. He will direct the adult choir, which will have upwards of 110 voices. All of the repertoire this choir is singing is written and arranged by Bob Chilcott.”
She adds that the audience will also get to hear from the BC Youth Choir, an auditioned group of singers ages 16 to 25.
“This year there are 56 singers in this group, which will be directed by Carrie Tennant, who is the artistic director of the Vancouver Youth Choir,” Zeegers explained.
“Also, this year Chorfest is home to a Teen Choir, for students in grades 8 to 12. This group will be directed by Paul Cummings, who is an educator in Powell River, where he teaches at the high school and college and has launched a new project, the Townsite Jazz Festival. This group will feature several pieces with brass and percussion accompaniment. Look for them in the Platzl on Saturday May 18, at 4 p.m. for a pop-up performance.”
In terms of the rehearsal process, Zeegers says it is a unique way to bring many singers together under one roof.
“The Chorfest choirs are unique in that the music is learned ahead of time, and then the choirs rehearse for three days and then give the Gala concert,” she said. “Feedback from local singers currently working on this music has been extremely positive. While some of the music is familiar (Waltzing Matilda, Danny Boy, Scarborough Fair), the arrangements can be quite challenging. The opportunity to sing this kind of music with a large group is rare, and we are so glad to offer the chance to our local musicians.”
While the BC Youth Choir’s auditions have closed, anyone wishing to sing with the Adult choir or the Teen choir may still register. To do so go to www.bcchoralfed.com/chorfest2019 for more information. Local contact is Marta Zeegers at 250.432.9747.