Spring is finally in the air, there’s a Royal Wedding on the horizon and the Peninsula Singers are ready to serenade you with three concerts devoted to the subject of love. That universal emotion that songwriters have created memorable tunes around since the ancient Egyptians strummed their harps.
The challenge for any artistic director is how do you capture this deep emotion called “love” in just one concert? For the past year, Glenda Korella, the Singers’ artistic director has been working on selecting a treasury of songs — and some poetry –— to take the measure of love.
“When I started down this path, I knew I could be overwhelmed,” she said. “A lot of people offered suggestions and I had a pile of music by my piano that kept growing.” Eventually, Korella organized the 90-minute concert around the Beatles’ famous song from the 60s, All You Need Is Love.
On the last weekend in April and the first day in May, the Singers will entertain audiences with their own inimitable version of the love songs Korella has selected. You can take a tour of love, from Irving Berlin’s saucy Steppin’ Out with My Baby to a medley of Beatles love songs, and from Sting’s plaintive Fields of Barley to that battle of the sexes from the 50s Broadway show, The Pajama Game called There Once Was a Man.
Complete with costumes, choreography, and humour, All You Need Is Love is the best way to get high on love songs. Standout soloists Sherry Majocha and John Cribdon will be featured once again as will soprano soloist Adrienne Dyer singing Abba’s Slipping Through My Fingers, about a mother’s love for her small daughter. Contralto soloist Heather Carpenter will sing Canadian singer-songwriter Connie Kaldor’s I Love That Dog, a song Kaldor says is one of her most requested on tour. And long-time members of the Peninsula Singers, Louise Westphal and Barry Hall will harmonize on the memorable Second World War ballad I’ll Be Seeing You.
There will be love poems read by members of the chorus, including Lee Porteous, a member of the Victoria Storytellers’ Guild. And, as usual, a surprise performance you’ll have to be in the audience to experience. (We can’t give it away, but can say it relates to Korella and debonair Master of Ceremonies, Jim Kingham.)
Young accompanist Alyssa Hait, who’s been at the keyboard with the Singers for the past four years, will be leaving as she graduates in June from the University of Victoria with a degree in education, majoring in music. Hait will be featured in the traditional Spotlight on a Young Artist.
“We’ve seen Alyssa grow as a young woman and a fine artist these past four years,” said Korella. “She’s not only a talented pianist, but an outstanding accompanist and the two don’t always go hand in hand.” As a parting gift to the chorus and to the audience, Hait will play Chopin’s Nocturne in D Flat Major and Listz’ Libestraume no. 3, also known as Oh Love.
The Singers will also be accompanied by violinist Lexa Yates, formerly of the Rochester Hills Symphony Orchestra, now teaching violin at the Sidney Community Music School, Lynell Korella on bass and Terry Erskine on percussion. MC Jim Kingham will also do a bit of accompanying the Singers with his tenor sax.
Profits from the concerts go to support the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation’s Music Therapy Program. The audience is also invited to bring non-perishable items for the Sidney Lions Food Bank.
Marlin Travel, Thrifty Foods and the Peninsula News Review are concert sponsors.
Concerts take place Friday, April 29, Saturday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday, May 1 matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $11 for kids under 12 and $22 for adults. Available at Mary Winspear box office, 250-656-0275.