Eve Daniell performing in the role of Vitellia from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito for the Royal Academy Opera in London. (Courtesy of Hanna Zushi-Rhodes)

Oldest log church on Vancouver Island celebrates 125th anniversary in July

London-trained Mill Bay-based opera singer to perform on July 18

The Parish of St. Anne and St. Edmund in Parksville is celebrating the 125th anniversary of St. Anne’s log church with a series of events running throughout July and August.

Classical soprano Eve Daniell will sing alongside pianist Rykie Avenant on July 18 at an event called ‘Concert for a Summer’s Evening,’ taking place in the St. Edmund’s hall.

Daniell was born in the Cowichan Valley and now divides her time between London and Mill Bay. She obtained her Master’s degree in opera at the Royal Academy of Music in London three years ago, and has been travelling back to London to audition and perform ever since.

While big cities are where the contracts are, Daniell feels that she is truly called to live on Vancouver Island.

“In my time off, I come home and try and do recitals and bridge the gap between my musical city life and my home base, where my soul is,” said Daniell.

READ MORE: Historic Parksville church celebrates 124th anniversary

She looks forward to performing on Vancouver Island and hopes to be able to perform locally more often.

“It feels very rewarding to be home,” said Daniell. “It feels wonderful to get to perform beautiful, intimate work, in a setting where you can really feel yourself connecting to the people you’re telling the stories to.”

On July 18, the two will perform music in the category of “art song” — performances meant for a solo vocalist and pianist.

Daniell and Avenant decided to curate the lineup to be entirely made up of female composers, as a way to celebrate the lesser known composers in classical music.

“It’s really fun when you can find a moment to celebrate the contributions of the lesser known composers. Especially if they were lesser known just because they were writing at a time when women weren’t supposed to publish, weren’t supposed to work, and weren’t really supposed to create,” said Daniell.

Together, they will perform works by Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and more.

In addition to Daniell’s concert, St. Anne’s will be hosting a twice-weekly open house for those interested in learning more about the building, the churchyard and the stories of pioneers. Those will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

St. Anne’s will also host an event called Heritage Day & Strawberry Tea on July 20 as the official celebration of the log church.

The heritage day will feature two historical performances that detail the history of the log church’s opening 125 years ago, followed by a strawberry tea in the St. Edmund’s hall.

For more information, visit https://www.oneopencircle.org/125th-anniversary-of-st-annes-church.

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