Island Soul Choir offers Stayed on Freedom

Fall concert to present a variety of musical selections

The Island Soul Choir’s annual fall concert Stayed on Freedom will be presented by the choir, under the direction of Brian Tate of Vancouver, on November 26 and 27 Knox United Church in Parksville.

This season’s program brings together music from the gospel and spiritual traditions, and a variety of world music selections. With arrangements by Tate, songs include I Open My Mouth to the Lord, a stirring spiritual standard that has been interpreted by many groups.

The concert’s theme Stayed on Freedom is taken from the refrain of Woke Up this Morning, a slave spiritual revived in the 1960s and ‘70s Civil Rights movement.

Tate conducts this choir of 125 voices in a wide-ranging repertoire from gospel, spirituals, and world music, to blues, pop, soul, and R&B — basically any type of music that touches, moves or inspires the soul.

What makes these concerts even more fascinating is that the choir rehearses together only five times, about once a month, before the concert. With rehearsals so spread apart, choristers come from all over Vancouver Island — from Port Hardy to Victoria — as well as from nearby Quadra and Gabriola Islands.

The concerts also feature a superb group of Vancouver musicians accompanying the choir. On piano is Michael Creber, with Phil Belanger on percussion, and Brent Gubbels on bass guitar. All are multi-talented professionals, brought together and led by Tate.

Island Soul Choir showcases special guests A Cappella Plus, directed by Rosemary Lindsay. A Cappella Plus has been offering a mix of sacred and secular choral music around central Vancouver Island for 32 years.

Stayed on Freedom will be presented Sat., Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2:30 p.m. Both concerts will be held at Knox United Church, 345 Pym Street, Parksville.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under, and are available at Knox United Church, Mulberry Bush Bookstores in Parksville and Qualicum, Fascinating Rhythm and Guava Apparel in Nanaimo, and Laughing Oyster Bookshop and Rhodos Coffee Roasting in Courtenay. Tickets are also available online at  For more information, visit the choir’s website at, or call Laurene at 250-248-2097.