Nearly 300 youth raised their voices in beautiful harmonies Saturday night in a concert that completely wowed their audience. The concert was held at the Brilliant Cultural Centre for a sold out audience, which means that including the concert participants, about 1,000 people filled the centre.
Castlegar’s own Vision of Peace Choir opened the evening by welcoming the participating choirs, explaining a bit of their heritage and presenting several traditional Doukhobor numbers.
The performance was part of the the Voices West youth choir festival which brought together six of western Canada’s most vibrant youth choirs for a weekend of song. Voices West takes place every two years and this year the event was hosted by Corazon, a passionate youth choir from Nelson, BC directed by Allison Girvan.
Girvan orchestrated an amazing program which culminated in a mass choir consisting of all of the festival participants performing two awe inspiring numbers. After the concert was over Girvan ancknowledged that she was pleased with the results. “I am completely overwhelmed at this point. It was incredibly successful. That was due largely in part to all of the volunteers that were helping and the willingness of all of the participants to buy into this energy that is spectacular,” she said.
Girvan was also impressed with the singers themselves and their attitudes. “We worked together all day today from before 9 a.m. this morning until just after 10 p.m. this evening and there has not been a moment of flagging energy. It has been completely focused energy,” expressed Girvan. “They are beautiful, beautiful people and they all enjoy being around each other and it was a spectacular weekend.”
The choirs involved were the Ihana Youth choir from Red Deer, Kamala Youth Choir from North Battleford, Edmonton Youth Choir, Kokopelli Youth Choir from Edmonton, Coastal Sound Youth Choir from the Metro Vancouver area and the hometown favourite, Corazon from Nelson.
The six different choirs performed an amazing repetoire ranging from charming folk tunes and historic spirituals to majestic sixteenth century hymns. A varied selection of international music was also on the program featuring sounds from Africa, Latvia, Norway and Scottland. Several numbers had the crowd on their feet for standing ovations.
Kathena Lin, a member of the Edmonton Youth Choir who attended the previous Voices West really enjoyed this year’s festival. “The environment this time is really nice, really friendly and really relaxed,” said Lin. “It is very nice to be a part of this huge group of singers and to know that we have something that connects all of us. We get to share music and share our talents.”
After such an inspiring evening, choir and music lovers will most likely be anxiously awaiting the next time it is the Kootenay’s turn to host Voices West.