Island Singers embrace giving spirit

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Hold Christmas fundraising concerts in Little Current and Mindemoya

MANITOULIN – The Island Singers are back in action for their ever-popular, two-part, holiday-themed concert series, with this year’s offering of a festive ‘Christmas Is Coming’ show sure to delight audiences in Little Current and Mindemoya on December 14 and 15 respectively.

“It’s for anyone who would like to get into more of the holiday spirit,” said conductor Chris Theijsmeijer. “The title is ‘Christmas Is Coming,’ but it could be for any holiday. It’s a celebration of singing, music and the holiday season. There’s probably a bit of something for everyone.”

The Island Singers have been performing on Manitoulin since the 1990s. Mr. Theijsmeijer and his wife Heather have been part of it for about a decade and he has been the group’s full-time conductor for the past four years.

The concerts in the two towns raise money for charitable causes. This year, a slight change is in the works with an extra benefactor to the fundraising.

“For the past couple of years we’ve been supporting breast cancer research because we’ve had some choir members who have suffered from it. Some we have lost, some are survivors; we’ve always put our money towards that. However, this year, we’ve decided to split it between two others. Our former accompanist is battling cancer so we’re putting some money toward her and her family, and the other part will be going to the (Manitoulin Centennial) Manor,” said Mr. Theijsmeijer.

With about 40 members on stage, Mr. Theijsmeijer said this was likely the Island Singers’ biggest choir to date. Members come out from all corners of the Island to share their love of music with their audiences. They have been rehearsing for this show since the end of September.

The repertoire ranges from traditional carols like ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Let It Snow’ to more modern tunes. There is some classical fusion in the works as well as fun modern choral music.

“We’re hoping to spread a little bit of Christmas cheer, a little bit of extra sparkle for the holiday season, some distraction from the snow storms and a bit of inspiration to have some positive thoughts in the world,” said Mr. Theijsmeijer.

In addition to the main choir, there are some breakout soloists and small groups that will perform as well. Special guests Sophie Hietkamp will provide music on the flute and Kari Gerhard will play violin.

“We’ve got a little surprise to start off the concert, but I can’t give that away right now,” said Mr. Theijsmeijer. “There will also be a bit of a singalong in the middle so the audience can sing themselves, so bring your voices along as well.”

Mr. Theijsmeijer said he was appreciative of the school board for the rental space for their practices, as well as the two churches hosting the event.

“For anybody who’s thinking of coming out to listen, I need to say thanks for your donations to our causes and to help keep music going on Manitoulin,” said Mr. Theijsmeijer.

The Island Singers perform at the Little Current United Church at 3 pm on Saturday, December 14. The following day, December 15, they will be offering a show at the Mindemoya Missionary Church, also at 3 pm for the Sunday event.