It’s to be an old-fashioned Christmas for the Tidesmen’s annual Christmas concert, taking place Saturday, Dec. 16, at Knox United Church in Parksville.
The event is a longstanding tradition for the men’s a capella group, which formed in 1973.
Now with about 45 members, the majority of those will be participating in the upcoming concert in Parksville — one of two major Christmas concerts for the group, which also performs Dec. 15 in Nanaimo at the Ecumenical Centre.
The group also puts on three other charity events at seniors homes, with the Tidesmen having performed at the Qualicum Beach Gardens Dec. 12, said the Tidesmen’s president, Mike Patterson.
Being an a cappella group singing in the barbershop style, they sing without any instrumental accompaniment, and in four-part chords for every melody note.
The Tidesmen include four quartets who will be performing some of the songs, and soprano Elise Boulanger will be a special guest addition for their Christmas concerts.
A Vancouver Island University student, Boulanger will sing some songs on her own, and then perform one number along with the Tidesmen, said Patterson.
Songs the chorus expects to sing for the concert include Deck the Halls, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World and Silent Night, as well as some more modern works like Jingle Bell Rock and an Irish blessing song, said Patterson.
“It’s going to be a really exciting and inspirational spirit-of-Christmas exercise we’re doing,” he said.
The chorus works from September, practising Christmas music to have it completely memorized and ready for these yearly Christmas concerts, all to “spread the joy of music throughout the community.”
“Many of these Christmas carols, they’re a part of our youth, and we want to continue to do that and spread that word around the community,” he said.
“And there is a great reward for making music together. Like, you get 35 guys up on the stage, all really on the same page, looking in the same direction, making music, it’s a bit of magic. We think it’s magic, and our audience certainly responds.”
The chorus also gives back in other ways, having supported the Nanaimo Child Development Centre for many years with a percentage of the proceeds from concerts like this one.
“Last year we gave them $2,000,” said Patterson.
A new way the group is planning to spread the joy of singing is by starting up a learn-to-sing program where adults with or without singing experience can learn from the chorus once a week for six weeks.
Another exciting event for the chorus in spring of 2018 is the chance to host the Division 1 Barbershop and Harmony Championships (which includes groups from Vancouver Island, the B.C. Mainland and northern Washington State). That will take place April 27 and 28, said Patterson.
“It’s going to be a very big deal,” he said, adding it will be the second time the Tidesmen have hosted the championship.
The Tidesmen’s Old Fashioned Christmas concert is set for Saturday, Dec. 16, at Knox United Church, at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Mulberry Bush Bookstores in Parksville and Qualicum Beach, or at www.tidesmen.com/dbpage.php?pg=xmasshowpaypal.
For more info on the Tidesmen, go to www.tidesmen.com.