Farewell to family for Peninsula Singers’ conductor



After 15 years with the Peninsula Singers, Korella is retiring. Her final shows will be Dec. 2 to 4.

Peninsula Singers’ Glenda Korella shares a laugh during last year’s winter concert. This year’s performances will be her final ones as conductor and artistic director of the show chorus.

Glenda Korella still has a lot of energy and time to give but after the end of next month’s Peninsula Singers performances, she will no longer be the group’s conductor and artistic director.

After 15 years with the Peninsula-based show chorus, Korella is retiring. Her final shows with the Singers will be A Magical Christmas, Dec. 2 to 4 at the Mary Winspear Centre.

Rehearsals have been going on for some time and she says everyone is working hard to make  the performances memorable.

“I’m trying to make it really good,” she said. “So, it’s been a bit stressful. But it’s always a delight to be with (the members of the chorus). They are like my family.”

Korella ‘adopted’ this new family after she moved to the Peninsula from Calgary in 2001 after her husband Lynell took a job in Victoria. She had taught school and ran a glee club and naturally gravitated to the Peninsula Singers, where Lynell became involved as well, playing bass in the small orchestra. And it wasn’t long after that, that Korella was named the Singers’ artistic director and conductor.

Over that time, Korella said she made a few changes to the group, always with an eye to improving it overall. Those changes included having the singers memorize more and more of the music. That, she said, allowed them to perform better on stage and incorporate individual or smaller group performances during the main show.

The Singers also began to invite some of the area’s up-and-coming youth musicians, singers and dancers. A Youth Spotlight was established, through contacts with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

“It’s really nice for youth to be recognized and rewarded for their work,” she said.

And as they performed, Korella said they added such things as sing-a-longs with the audience and a lot more humour.

“That’s something for the audience, too. They really want to feel good and this helps.”

Audience feedback was a direct link to some of those changes over the years. Korella said by listening and speaking with people after every show, the Singers have been able to grow — and sell out a significant portion of their performances every year. That has helped them contribute around $40,000 to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation over the years.

For Korella and the chorus, the transition to a new era takes place after the final show Sunday, Dec. 4 and after the post-performance party the following Tuesday. It’s then when the official change takes place, as Korella passes the job over to the Singers’ new artistic director, Lena Palermo.

Afterwards, Korella said she plans to do some traveling with her family.

Yet, the show must go on and until then, she says people can expect A Magical Christmas set of performances.

The Peninsula Singers are on stage Fri., Dec. 2 and Sat., Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The Sun., Dec. 4 show starts at 2 p.m. If there are any tickets left, you can find them at the Mary Winspear Centre box office, 250-656-0275.