Serious singers back for seasonal ensemble

Cranbrook concert features vocalists who’ve taken their talents to the next level

Top row

Barry Coulter

A signature event celebrating the great array of the vocal talent of Cranbrook and Kimberley is arranged for the end of December.

A special concert featuring nine local vocalists will be held Sunday, December 27, 2015, at Knox Presbyterian Church. And the level of talent will be high — all the singers involved have gone on from high school to study voice or musical theatre at the post-secondary level.

The concert is the brainchild of Elizabeth Ross, who herself has sung as a soprano for many years in Cranbrook and elsewhere, including with the Symphony of the Kootenays and many local musicals.

Pictured: Accompanist Arne Sahlen

Ross said since many of the singers would be home for Christmas, such a gathering would be a wonderful opportunity for the community to hear them all sing and perform.

“I think it is amazing that Cranbrook has developed so much vocal talent and that so many students from here have pursued voice in a serious way,” Ross said. “I chose each of these singers because they’ve all pursued vocal studies at University or seriously with an advanced voice teacher.

Pictured: Accompanist Erica Ortlieb

“As far as I am aware these are all of the students from our area from the last ten years (or so) that have gone on to study voice (classical or musical theatre) at a post secondary level. Of course there have been many other talented singers from our area — and there continues to be so. So I decided to limit the invitees to students that have pursued their music formally beyond high school.”

Ross said any proceeds from this concert could be given to the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival, which has helped nuture vocal, musical and dramatic talent over the years. She added that she has heard most of the guests sing many times at the Performing Arts Festival, and at other venues, particularly at Mount Baker Secondary School.

Ross originally had invited 12 vocalists, of which nine were able to accept. The concert will take place at Knox Presbyterian Church in Cranbrook, Sunday, Dec. 27, at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation (suggested donation is $10), with proceeds going to the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival.  Kimberley’s Arne Sahlen and Erica Ortlieb (Ross’s daughter) will serve as piano accompanists.

The audience can look forward to classical vocal selections, some opera, some musical theatre, and a few duets.


The singers are:

• Darren Adams — Darren is in his third and final year of the Acting For Stage and Screen program at Capilano University in Vancouver. He has performed for several community and semi-professional theatre companies and has been featured in dozens of short films.

• Heather Byford — After graduating from MBSS, Heather attended the University of Lethbridge where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Music, majoring in Vocal Performance. She recently returned home and intends to start her own teaching studio before continuing her musical education.

• Courteny Green — Courteny is currently the head teacher and choreographer at Stages School of Dance Golden. She is an alumnus of both St. Lawrence College’s Music Theatre Department and MBSS Wild Theatre.

• Clara MacLeod — Clara is from Kimberley, and is currently a musical theatre major at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario.

• Caitlin McCaughey — Caitlyn received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Lethbridge, and currently studying opera at the University of Toronto.

• Jocelyn Molnar — Jocelyn has performed throughout B.C. and Ontario. She received her Diploma of Music from Capilano University in North Vancouver, and is now continuing her undergraduate degree at Western University in London, Ontario.

• Danielle Nicholson  — Danielle is a lyrical mezzo-soprano currently completing her A.R.C.T. Performers’ Diploma with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and is hoping to begin her B. Mus. in Vocal Performance at either U.B.C., University of Toronto or McGill in the Fall of 2016.

• Justin Swanson — Justin is a third year undergrad student at the McGill University Schulich School of Music. Justin has been studying music for five years and has aspirations of becoming an Opera singer.

• Amanda Weatherall  — Amanda is a Mezzo Soprano is a fourth year vocal performance student at Western University.

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