Singers celebrate 10 years of Winspear Christmases

Spotlight on a Young Artist features 11-year-old Aline Dumalski

The Peninsula Singers prepare for snow as part of the upcoming Christmas concert.

The Peninsula Singers prepare for snow as part of the upcoming Christmas concert.

Peninsula Singers celebrate a decade of kicking off Christmas with song at the Mary Winspear Centre with a trio of concerts next month.

“I know from the responses we get after our concerts that we’ve been lifting people’s spirits and getting them in the Christmas mood, but it’s hard to believe this is our 10th year at Mary Winspear,” said artistic director Glenda Korella. “I like to think that we get better each year and find a way to make the good ol’ songs enjoyable while still bringing the audience new songs that celebrate the season.”

There will be mini-themes in the shows, around travel — to warmer climates like Australia and Hawaii — and snow, as in Let It Snow and The Christmas Waltz.

Also included will be songs celebrating the love of family and friends, such as John Rutter’s I Wish You Christmas. The chorus will reprise the popular Christmas in a Minute,  a parody of Chopin’s Minute Waltz, where the women fret about all the labour-intensive work around Christmas and the men sit back and wonder about the fuss.

Popular soloists drawn from the Singers’ ranks will take the stage, as will Lee Porteous, the Singers’ resident storyteller. Korella will direct the audience in the popular sing-along, this time including an Australian version of Jingle Bells.

“I know the audience can do it — they’ve always been fast learners,” she said.

The traditional Spotlight on a Young Artist will feature 11-year-old violinist Aline Dumalski, a student at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Dumalski first held a violin at the age of four and by the time she was 10, she’d completed her Toronto Conservatory of Music Grade 10 exam with Distinction. She’ll play the rousing Zigeunerweisen, or Gypsy Airs by Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate.

New to the Singers’ family will be Jeanne Campbell, a well-regarded Victoria accompanist; and Tom Watson as master of ceremonies. Lynell Korella, will add the strength of the bass guitar to the sound.

Concerts are Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; the  Sunday matinee on Dec. 4 starts at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $11 for kids under 12 and $22 for adults; available at Mary Winspear Centre box office, by phone at 250-656-0275 or online at

Concert raises cash to bring music to palliative care

Profits from the three Peninsula Singers concerts will go to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation’s Music Therapy Program.

“The Peninsula Singers have been instrumental in keeping our program running,” said Karen Morgan, executive director at the Foundation. “Having the support of a group like the Peninsula Singers makes all the difference in having the program and making sure it runs consistently.”

Music therapy is designed for palliative care patients, where the therapists play music which has shown to decrease the need for pain medication and often assists the patient in making peace with family or friends.

As well, the Singers are carrying on the annual tradition of asking their audience to bring non-perishable food or cash donations for the Sidney Lions Food Bank.

Win tickets

• Share your Christmas memories to win a pair of tickets to the upcoming Peninsula Singers concert. Email your fondest memories to with ‘Christmas past’ in the subject line. Include your name and a daytime phone number. Deadline is Nov 28 at 4 p.m.