Island Soul Choir welcomes the Bel Canto Singers

It will be a joyful celebration of song and spring with the Island Bel Canto Singers

In a joyful celebration of song and spring, Island Bel Canto Singers will open the show for the Island Soul Choir’s Mornin’ Stars a-Risin’ concerts in Parksville on June 2 and 3.

The 20-plus voice women’s choir from Nanaimo, led by Lionel Tanod and accompanied by Sharon Sinclair, is delighted to be performing on the same stage as Island Soul Choir, a 100-plus voice choral phenomenon co-directed by Brian Tate and Karla Mundy.

Island Bel Canto Singers have a wide-ranging repertoire — from classics to folk, show tunes to jazz and contemporary to world music.

One of their choices for the Island Soul Choir concerts will feature a song composed by Brian Tate called Klee Wyck, a haunting piece about artist Emily Carr.

This year the choir is celebrating 15 years of bel canto (beautiful singing in Italian).

It all started in August 1997, when 17 women responded to a local ad for singers in a new women’s choir. Their spirit of teamwork, coupled with the inspired leadership of their director Irene Thompson, saw the choir grow in both size and popularity over the next three years.

In early 2002, Christine McMahon took over the director’s position, and the choir continued to flourish.

Island Bel Canto Singers welcomed their current leader, Lionel Tanod, in 2005. Tanod has expanded the choir’s repertoire and has built connections with many other musical groups in the community. He was a key figure, along with a number of choir members, in the creation of the Nanaimo Sings! choral festival in 2008, that involved 14 community choirs in a three-day festival.

Many accompanists have supported the choir over the years, including Elaine Ursulack, Sharyn Andruski-Collins, Gillian Guy and Rie Okamura. Since 2002, they have been truly blessed to have Sharon Sinclair as their accompanist.

Throughout the years, the choir continues to thrive as a result of everyone’s commitment to teamwork and choral excellence. This is, beyond a doubt, a group of women who truly love to sing and have fun together.

To help mark their special year the Island Bel Canto Singers are thrilled to be invited to participate in the upcoming International Kathaumixw Choral Festival in Powell River, July 3 to 8.

That festival is, coincidentally, celebrating its fifteenth anniversary.

Island Bel Canto Singers regularly perform two concerts at Christmas and one in the spring in Nanaimo.

Their concerts often provide a venue to showcase up-and-coming artists.  They are proud to count such rising stars as the young pianist Devon Joiner among this group. Traditionally, after their concerts, they hold a meet-and-greet reception with home-baked goodies and refreshments for the audience.

To learn more about the upcoming Island Soul Choir concerts on June 2 at 7:30 p.m. and June 3 at 2:30 p.m. at Knox United Church in Parksville, visit or call Laurene at 250-248-2097.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the following outlets: Fascinating Rhythm and Guava Apparel in Nanaimo, Mulberry Bush Bookstores in Parksville and Qualicum Beach, Laughing Oyster Book Shop in Courtenay, and Blue Heron Books in Comox. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under.

Visit for more information.


— Submitted by the Island Soul Choir



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