Whistler Singers annual concert offers range of music styles 

WHO: Whistler Singers and guests

WHERE: Myrtle Philip school

WHEN: April 25, 7:30 p.m.

The Whistler Singers present their annual spring concert April 25. For those unfamiliar with the adult choir, Whistler Singers is one of the oldest established community groups in the resort, with over 15 years in operation. It’s a non-auditioned choir that welcomes new members on a regular basis.

"From session to session, meaning from winter term to spring term, I don’t know what kind of singers I’m going to have. So I wait to see who joins and then choose the music from there," says Whistler Singers Director, Colleen Koop.

"I try to select music that is suitable for the group I have. But I also want to make sure they’re walking away having learned something. Some people have very little experience, and others have a strong musical background, so we want to try and meet everyone’s musical challenges."

This year’s program includes a variety of sounds and performers. The Whistler Singers have prepared songs from contemporary composers as well as folk and spiritual. They will be joined by two special guests, also with distinctly different styles. The always popular Colours on Key are sure-fire crowd-pleasers with their upbeat and zany entertainment. This local female sextet is a favourite, often seen at special events or busking around the village.

"They offer a real liveliness to any concert format," says Koop. "I always try to include them in our events."

Colours on Key will be followed by The Renaissance Singers, from the Mennonite Educational Institute of Abbottsford. These high school students attend specialized music classes and perform under the direction of Larry Nickel. Nickel is no stranger to the area. He has been asked back several times to lead choral workshops in Squamish.

"His instruction is really top notch. I view him as sort of a mentor," adds Koop.

Nickel has taught choir, band, strings, jazz and acting for 21 years. In 1993, he was awarded the Outstanding Service to Jazz award by the International Association of Jazz Educators. Most recently, Nickel received a commission to write an oratorio based on the Narnia Chronicles of C.S. Lewis.

"So many of these events are geared towards tourists and visitors in the high season. This is a chance for the community of Whistler to come and appreciate some quality choral music. It really caters to all ages," Koop says.

Fittingly, the finale to the night will be a song incorporating all three groups.

Tickets for the April 25 event are $5 at the door. Curtain is 7:30 p.m. at Myrtle Philip Community School.

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