Penticton will come alive this weekend with the sounds of over 250 choir voices.
On Saturday the Naramata Community Choir will host the 63rd gathering of the member choirs of the International Choral Festival at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
“There is something (special) about 50 people singing in a group compared to say even 50 instrumentalists,” said Justin Glibbery, director of the Naramata Community Choir. “There is the direct human element of the voice. It is the instrument we use to communicate with people everyday and we get on the stage and do it all together.”
Glibbery said there is a passion for choir because there are moments that come along for the singers, who mostly aren’t professionally trained, where everything seems to just sync.
“It’s people getting together for the love of singing. You can actually achieve quite a bit musically by harnessing those voices together. When those little moments come along, yes, they are spine-shivering things and we are hoping to have lots of those at the concert,” said Glibbery.
The festival began as an all male program and the Naramata and Oliver choirs were the first mixed-voice choirs to be included in the event. Each year the festival is hosted by a different member choir, alternating between Washington State and British Columbia.
This year is also special for the Naramata choir as they are entering their 50th year of participation. They will be hosting their anniversary event May 20 at the Columbia Hall in Naramata at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.
“It’s very rare that you get a community group with that many miles under its tires,” said Glibbery.
The concert is not a competitive event; rather, each of the eight choirs will present three selections. The program will end with all eight choirs joining for a powerful massed choir performance of three selections.
“There is a bit of everything. From fun old folk songs, jazz tunes to very seriously legit concert choir repertoire. There is a sampling of everything,” said Glibbery.
This year the festival has included, as special guests, the Penticton Secondary Concert Choir. Other mixed voice choirs participating this year are the Bisset Singers from Cranbrook, the Trail Harmony and the Village Voices from Leavenworth, WA. Also participating are two men’s choirs, the Camerata Club from Yakima, WA. and the Apollo Club from Wenatchee, WA, along with the Appleaires Choral Society, a ladies choir from Wenatchee.
The concert will be held at 7 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. They can be bought at Naramata Store, The Dragon’s Den, Ten Thousand Villages, Hooked on Books, The Beanery Café or through Naramata Community Choir members.