Every two years the small coastal community of Powell River hosts an International Choral Kathaumixw. This year’s festival takes place July 1-5. The word Kathaumixw is a Coast Salish word that means “a gathering together of different peoples.” The concept for this festival began in 1982, after Don James, music director of the Powell River Academy of Music, returned from an international festival in Wales with the Powell River Boys Choir. He wondered aloud why there couldn’t be a festival of a similar calibre in North America and was convinced not only that there could be but that it also should be right amid the beauty of Powell River. Over the years the choral festival has earned an excellent reputation in the international choral community attracting choirs from Australia, China, Africa and Europe as well as North America. Today more than 1,200 people gather to share their music, culture and friendship. Each year the festival features Artists in Residence, internationally renowned soloists, orchestras and a distinguished international jury. Founder, Don James, has been awarded Canada’s highest honour, the Order of Canada, in recognition for his distinguished service to music.
Choirs are selected to attend through an audition process. Participating choirs this year represent Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Uganda, Russia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Taiwan. This will be the first time Musaic Vocal Ensemble has participated in an event of this calibre and the choir is excited! Thanks to the support of both the Summerland and Penticton communities who have enthusiastically attended concerts over the past three seasons, dedicated and talented singers, and the skilled leadership of director Tracy Stuchbery, Musaic has gained the experience, finesse and confidence to be selected to attend such a festival.
This spring there have been four opportunities to hear the choir before they head off to Powell River. Two of those remain: a concert in Kelowna and one in Oliver. Musaic is presenting a spring concert program called “Mountain, Sea and Sky”. They will debut a brand new work by choir member and Oliver resident Brian Mapplebeck, entitled “A Creation Cantata”, as well as a choral arrangement of Squamish composer Joanna Schwarz’s song “Mountain, Sea and Sky” which celebrates the beauty and nature of the Squamish/ Howe Sound area. For these concerts Musaic welcomes special guests Dennis Nordlund, piano, Christine Robinson, soprano and Antonia Mahon, flute.
Saturday, May 10 at 7:30pm at St.Michael and All Angels Anglican Cathedral in Kelowna
Saturday, May 24 at 7:30pm at the Oliver Alliance Church in Oliver.
Tickets are $15, $5 for children and are available at the Leir House in Penticton, at James on Kelly in Summerland, from choir members and at the door.
For a sound bite of the choir, check out this video of a Musaic rehearsal on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXsO029KjBw