Tate’s last time conducting

Nanaimo-Brian Tate’s final performance as a conductor of the Island Soul Choir at The Port Theatre May 26.

In celebration of Brian Tate’s final performance as a conductor of the Island Soul Choir, a special concert will take place at The Port Theatre May 26.

At the concert, called Island Soul Choir IN CONCERT, the Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers will be selling homemade and artisan crafts to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation, helping grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa raise their grandchildren orphaned by AIDS.

The concert will feature a number of traditional West-African and Afro-Cuban songs, as well as spirituals, gospel and civil-rights favourites.

Tate created the choir, along with his friend Ron Klusmeier, back in August 2007, after the resounding success of a weekend gospel workshop. He has been its conductor ever since. After this concert,  he will be stepping down to pursue other interests, and Karla Mundy, who began co-conducting with the choir last year, will become the full-time conductor.

The choir is also celebrating the completion of their first performance tour earlier this month in Havana, Cuba. A group of 39 singers represented the choir there in a week-long tour, performing and participating in workshops, concerts and other cross-cultural exchanges with Cuban musicians and dancers. The group also spent time exploring the vast Cuban history and culture, and distributed small gifts to the Cubans of items that are hard to find there, like soap, toothbrushes, and guitar strings. The tour was a source of inspiration, and the choir will impress with a new sound and enthusiasm.

Special guests for the concert will be Soul Patrol and TriVo. Soul Patrol is an 8-piece R&B band that blends diverse vocals with intuitive musicality for many favourite R&B standards. TriVo is a dynamic and versatile vocal trio from Vancouver that brings music to life from many cultures and traditions around the globe.

Island Soul Choir is a Vancouver Island-based community choir, with over 150 non-auditioned singers from Port Hardy to Victoria, as well as some neighbouring islands. Unlike typical choirs that rehearse weekly, Island Soul Choir rehearses just once every three to four weeks in Lantzville and typically perform at Knox United Church in Parksville.

Tate is an award-winning composer/arranger, pianist, percussionist, choir director, educator and vocalist. In addition to Island Soul Choir, Brian directs City Soul Choir with 100 singers in Vancouver, and teaches at Studio 58, Langara College’s professional theatre school. He is also a learning leader with The Next Institute, using music, theatre, and drawing as tools for organizational training.

Karla Mundy is a vibrant and soulful vocalist, pianist, arranger and choir leader. She directs four community choirs in Vancouver in addition to Island Soul Choir, and performs and teaches extensively with her vocal trio, TriVo, with Brian Tate and Dawn Pemberton. Karla released her first solo CD, Way Back, in 2012.

Island Soul Choir IN CONCERT will be presented Sunday, May 26 at 2:30 p.m. at The Port Theatre, Nanaimo. Adult tickets are $22.50. Tickets for high-school students and children 12 or under are $5. Tickets are on sale through The Port Theatre’s Ticket Centre at 250-754-8550 and porttheatre.com. (Please note: The choir will NOT be selling tickets through their usual ticket outlets or at choir rehearsals.)


—Submitted by Dawn Marusin