The Schooner Cove Singers will be performing Of Boats and Music on Sunday, May 5 at Knox United Church (345 Pym St., Parksville). - Submitted photo

Schooner Cove Singers will perform ‘Of Boats and Music’ at Knox United Church

Concert inspired by and features paintings of Gabriola Island marine artist Tony Grove

The Schooner Cove Singers plan to transport their audience out onto the ocean with a combination of music and visual art.

Back to finish off the second season of the organWORX concert series, Vancouver Island’s first professional choir will be performing Of Boats and Music on Sunday, May 5 at Knox United Church (345 Pym St., Parksville).

The choir, founded by Knox music leader and world-class organist Jenny Vincent, was created to feature the combination of choir voices and the organ.

RELATED: New choir formed for last OrganWORX performance of season

While choir and organ have been a staple of churches, more and more of them are having to cut out their organ music for financial reasons.

“A great wealth of choral music is being forgotten,” Vincent said.

While keeping these powerful, classic sacred pieces alive is a part of the Schooner Cove Singer’s mission, Vincent said she wants to do more than resurrect an interest in the organ and choir in that setting; she wants bring the pairing to a wider audience outside of the church.

The plan is to perform some of the best loved choir and organ music while introducing contemporary pieces and even commission others from a variety of sources for the Schooner Cove Singers to perform.

This next offering by the choir does that with a varied program, ranging from work by Sumsion and Mendelssohn, to pieces arranged by B.C.’s own Larry Nickel, who will also be singing with the choir.

The choir goes even further in its creativity by not just being inspired by the paintings of marine artist and Gabriola Island resident Tony Grove, but by having his work on display for the concert.

The focus of the program is on the lives and stories of those at sea, which Schooner Cove Singers’ conductor, Dr. Elroy Friesen admits was a bit of a challenge for him.

A prairie boy from Manitoba, seas and ships are a tad out of his everyday experience. But he said he’s managed to find some stunning music to showcase.

One of the key pieces in the first half of the program is Mendelssohn’s As the Hart Pants (Psalm 42).

“I’m very excited to do it. It’s a gorgeous piece,” said Friesen.

A significant work from Mendelssohn’s choral music, the choir will be challenged to sing in German.

Other pieces to note include a scene from Canadian opera Llandovery Castle, which depicts those aboard the Canadian medical ship HMHS Llandovery Castle during the First World War as the nurses and the crew sing sacred music and sea shanties.

This provides a transition for the concert into more folk music.

The concert will end with a song a little closer to home: Old Lady Rose by David Baker and arranged by Larry Nickel, named for a ship that served many B.C. residents, especially the outlying communities of the Alberni Inlet as a ferry.

The Schooner Cove Singers perform Of Boats and Music on May 5 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased via the Knox United Church office, at Mulberry Bush Bookstores in Parksville and Qualicum Beach and online at or

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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