Valley Festival Singers celebrate 40th anniversary

Two concerts in Abbotsford present the music of Mozart and Handel

The Valley Festival Singers present concerts in Abbotsford on April 8 and 9.

The Valley Festival Singers present concerts in Abbotsford on April 8 and 9.

The Valley Festival Singers (VFS) celebrate the music of Mozart and Handel as they celebrate their 40th anniversary with concerts on April 8 and 9.

The performances begin at 7 p.m. at Calvin Presbyterian Church, 33911 Hazelwood St.

The choral selections will be accompanied by an orchestra assembled by violinist Calvin Dyck.

FVS was started in 1976 by Abbotsford choral conductor Rudy Baerg and has since grown into a multi-generational choir.

Director Tony Funk was born in Abbotsford and graduated from MEI (Mennonite Educational Institute). He has been at the helm for 10 years.

Funk started as a member in 1982, and he credits this experience as the inspiration to study music. He later earned his bachelor and master’s degrees in music from UBC and sang with several choirs, including the Vancouver Cantata Singers.

Funk is the first and only Canadian ever invited to direct the Australian National Youth Choir.

He also assisted Communitas Supportive Care Society to raise more than $1 million  from the sale of 13 CDs he directed and produced.

Betty Suderman is another long-time member of FVS, having been the group’s pianist since the beginning.

She has performed throughout Canada, the Pacific Northwest, Europe and Africa, and has recorded with the Vancouver Cantata Singers, the Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir and West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir.

Suderman, an Abbotsford resident, has studied in Europe under the auspices of the German Academic Exchange Scholarship and Canada Council and completed her doctorate of musical arts degree in piano at UBC.

Tickets for the Abbotsford concerts are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $5 for students. They are available at House of James, from choir members, at the door, or online at

For more information, contact Heather Beckett at 604-302-4851 or Walter Hiller at 604-614-6759.

Abbotsford News