For their upcoming concert, Nanaimo’s Tidesmen chorus is featuring a singer they helped send to school.
Each year the men’s choir awards a bursary to one or two Nanaimo students to pursue vocal music training at the post-secondary level. The Tidesmen ask for instructor recommendations when making their selections and last year the honour went to Dover Bay Secondary School performing arts graduate Ella Olesen.
Olesen, also an accomplished dancer, said she was “thrilled” to have been chosen.
Olesen recently finished her first year as a musical theatre major at the University of Michigan. She said the Tidesmen bursary helped cover the cost of textbooks, a new pair of “character shoes” and a professional makeup kit for performances.
In recognition of Olesen’s pursuit of musical theatre, the Tidesmen are presenting A Nod to Broadway at the Port Theatre on May 11. Tidesmen marketing VP Wayne Newport, a tenor, said the concert will make for a fine Mother’s Day outing.
Aside from Olesen and the Tidesmen, the concert will feature the Pacific Northwest’s Full Measure Quartet, the Killer Wails Quartet from Victoria and the Tidesmen’s in-house quartets.
The groups will perform a variety of music – including sacred, calypso, doo-wop and comedy – with special attention paid to show tunes.
Olesen said she can’t wait to perform for the hometown crowd.
“The Tidesmen have continued to check in with me to see how I’m doing this year and I was really excited to be asked to perform at their upcoming show on May 11,” she said. “It is very special to be able to share a couple of pieces with my hometown teachers, family and friends who I have not seen much of this year.”
Olesen said she applied to the University of Michigan because of its well-known theatre program. Despite her research and in-person visits, she was unsure how her freshman year would unfold. She said she’s been “blown away.”
“I feel like the luckiest person to have been given the chance to come here and I am working hard to make my teachers, friends and family proud of me,” she said. “The University of Michigan’s program is thoroughly preparing me to work in so many possible niches in the theatre world, however right now I visualize my future as a performer on Broadway, off Broadway or on tour. I love what I’m doing; I’m positive this will continue to lead me to the best possible future for me.”
WHAT’S ON … Tidesmen and Friends present A Nod to Broadway at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and groups of 10 or more, $10 for full-time students. Available online, 250-734-1776 or the Port Theatre.