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More than 200 singers from 15 choirs coming together for ‘Made in Nanaimo’ concert

March 5 show will feature guest appearances by Joëlle Rabu, Buwa and Fiddelium
Nanaimo Sings community choir group members during rehearsal for the ‘Made in Nanaimo’ concert at the Port Theatre on March 5. (John Collison-Baker photo)

A group of community choirs is gearing up to host a tribute to the talent and artistry in Nanaimo.

Also considered a return to live singing performances, Nanaimo Sings will celebrate ‘Made in Nanaimo’ at the Port Theatre on Sunday, March 5.

“We’re so fortunate in Nanaimo to have so many talented people, musically, and in other respects as well,” said project coordinator and chairperson of Nanaimo Sings, Linda Dier. “I’m so fortunate to have worked with a multi-talented group of people in the planning.”

Due to safety restrictions throughout the pandemic, Dier said the organization of community choirs was “virtually sidelined” like so many other live performers. ‘Made in Nanaimo,’ which the chairperson said was over a year in the making, may have taken a long time to come to fruition, but one that promises a huge payoff.

Dier said it all started with a song search, where the organization reached out to local songwriters and asked them to submit their favourites. She said submissions were selected based on whether the song would translate well into choral arrangements. From there, musicians were commissioned to create those arrangements.

As selections were left wide open, approximately 200 singers from 15 Nanaimo Sings choirs will perform a medley mix of calypso, folk, rock, ballads, art songs and gospel, accompanied by a five-piece stage band.

The youth fiddle group Fiddelium will also accompany one of the songs, as well as play in the theatre’s lobby before the concert.

During the performance, Dier said composers will also be celebrated and acknowledged in short interviews discussing their work and what inspired them, as captured by videographer James Chappell, before each song.

Audience members will also be treated to “eye candy” photography that will show scenery and community members, as captured by local photographers and supplied by Tourism Nanaimo, prior to and during the event.

Vocalist Joëlle Rabu and singer-songwriter Buwa will open the show with a duet called The Nanaimo Song, later followed by solos with Nanaimo Sings members providing backup.

Musician and music director Nico Rhodes will also be on stage directing the stage band.

Dier said they were especially excited to have Willi Zwozdesky, the executive director of the B.C. Choral Federation and artistic director of the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, on stage as a guest conductor for the performance.

“It’s a big performance with lots and lots of details, but lots of fun too,” Dier said, and added that the organization is grateful to have received community sponsorship that has made the event possible.

Tickets information for ‘Made in Nanaimo’ can be found online at

READ MORE: Nanaimo Sings virtual performance features 66 vocalists

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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