Concenti Singers still bringing harmony

Sheila Johnson leads the Concenti Singers into Duncan United Church this weekend. - Andrew Leong/file
Sheila Johnson leads the Concenti Singers into Duncan United Church this weekend.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Reconnect with the spirit of Christmas through choral song.

That's what Sheila Johnson and the Concenti Singers hope people will be able to do at their upcoming Christmas performance entitled Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind.

"To start off December with a warm feeling in their heart. To get away from the commercial stuff. Just to sit for 90 minutes and be reminded what Christmas is all about," Johnson said.

Johnson said people tend to complain about the weather but on an Sunday afternoon in December the public can enjoy a variety of music from the 35-member Concenti Singers and the 22-member Cowichan Valley Youth Concert Choir, both of which Johnson directs.

Concenti choir members are all from the Cowichan Valley. They sing in four parts: soprano, alto, tenor and bass, and all are required to read music. The group represented the Cowichan Valley in the B.C. Provincial Festival of the Arts in May of this year, winning their class.

The choir began as an a capella choir and still incorporate this style of singing in their program. They rehearse almost entirely without Naomi Barkley's piano accompaniment until just before a performance.

Johnson explained they tried introducing accompaniment during rehearsals but the singers began mimicking the same percussive sound of the piano. So now, even for songs that include accompaniment, the choir rehearses without it.

The Concenti Singers are celebrating their 30th anniversary, a bittersweet milestone after the recent passing of Johnson's partner in life and music, Jim Johnson. The group started in 1982 with 24 members, one of whom is just over 80 years old and still sings with the group.

Sheila said Jim agonized over the name thirty years ago but settled on Concenti, which means harmony.

Your ticket

What: Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind

When: 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2

Where: Duncan United Church

Tickets: $15, $12 for seniors and students at Volume One Bookstore or the door. Children under 12 free.

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