Choirs on tour sang in Gibsons, Sechelt and Pender Harbour recently. Singers from Uganda, Kazakhstan and Poland came in tandem with Powell River's Kathaumixw 2004. (Kathaumix, Powell River's biennial choral festival, is Coast Salish for "a gathering of peoples".)
First up was Pender Harbour, July 4. Christ the King Choir from Uganda didn't quite bring the house down. They almost broke the stage though. Fortunately it held, but a split board needed replacing during intermission. The singing, drumming and dancing of this energetic ensemble enthralled the capacity house. The choir involved the entire audience, 120 strong, in their performances. One lady was persuaded onto the (repaired) stage and matched considerably younger performers with her dancing.
At home, this choir comprises 70 men and women. Only 17 could come to Canada, yet they certainly sizzled in Pender. Elim Ai from Almaty, Kazakhstan, won the hearts of 160 people in St. Hilda's Church July 11. Their varied selections encompassed music from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The choir sang a Thomas Morley madrigal, and Cole Porter's My Heart Belongs to Daddy.
Several Russian songs were interspersed with piano selections featuring choir members. Elim Ai is Kazakh for "homeland," and the choir proudly closed the evening with Kazakh songs. They sang these in colourful national dress and drew a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd.