Former Kathaumixw winners meet at European festival

Two previous Choir of the World recipients at Powell River choral festival find new connections

Powell River’s International Choral Kathaumixw festival is known for forging global connections between participants. An example of this happened last month in Slovenia when two former winners of the festival’s top prize, Choir of the World, met for the first time.

The 2016 winners, Wah Yan College Kowloon Boys' Choir of Hong Kong, had travelled to Slovenia to participate in the Maribor International Choral Festival. There they met Kathaumixw top prize winners of 2014, St. Stanislav Youth Choir of Slovenia. The two choirs took photographs in front of the Slovenian choir’s totem, carved by Tla'amin Nation carver Craig Galligos. They were the first choir to receive the gift of a totem from the festival, according to Kathaumixw founder and former artistic director Don James.

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“It’s only been awarded three times, the totem prize, “said James. “The last choir to get it was Young People’s Chorus of New York [in 2018].”

Dr. Lesley Ka-Hei Chan, head of the music department at Wah Yan College Kowloon, sent James the photo thanking him for organizing such a meaningful festival. Seeing ongoing connections such as this never gets old, he said.

“It’s totally fantastic. This is choral music, where choirs come together and connect,” he added. “This is just a little bit more heightened because they both won that prize. It’s really special and this connection was basically all initiated by their connection to Powell River.”

James said though the two choirs had not previously met, he believed they shared a similar outlook.

“Both the choirs were of the same ilk, very respectful and polite. They were truly gracious people when they were at Kathaumixw.”

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