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International Choral Kathaumixw undergoes organizational changes

"The job is quite daunting, but I will rise to the challenge; I like to organize events." ~ Petra Ebner, front-of-house coordinator
Petra Ebner and her partner Paul Lavigne have immersed themselves in volunteer activities since moving to the qathet region four years ago.

After a five-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, International Choral Kathaumixw is back this summer (July 4 to 8) and there have been several changes to the organization.

One of those changes is a new front-of-house coordinator because the previous one, Joyce Klein, who had served in that capacity for years, moved away from the qathet region.

Stepping into that role is Petra Ebner, who is no stranger to this area. For the last 30 years, she has vacationed on Savary Island, which she fell in love with and calls “heaven on earth.”

She first learned about Kathaumixw from friends on the island where she rented for years before buying a lot and putting up a Pan-Abode home.

“Coming from Europe, I was used to very high-calibre events,” explains Petra. “When I attended my first Kathaumixw, it was absolutely jaw-dropping and of outstanding quality.”

Since moving to qathet four years ago, Petra has become involved with a few organizations, including Powell River Vintage Car Club, and is now using these connections to encourage people to volunteer with Kathaumixw. She is the owner of a hunter green, 1949 International Harvester pickup truck and has recruited other car club members to provide rides in their vintage cars to and from Powell River Recreation Complex as well as other venues during the festival.

“I love it here so much. People here are so welcoming, open and kind,” says Petra.

She also joined Powell River Chorus, through which she became friends with Kathaumixw artist director Walter Martella.

“One day after rehearsal, he asked me if I would like to help the organizing committee and I said I would,” says Petra, who previously sang with the choir of St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in Vancouver.

In addition to her volunteering, Petra writes for the Vintage Car Club of Canada magazine.

“I love telling stories,” she adds.

She is working to fill some 250 usher slots for the Great Hall, Evergreen Theatre, James Hall at Powell River Academy of Music and Max Cameron Theatre at Brooks Secondary School.

So far, about 180 spots are filled; more volunteers are needed to cover all venues.

“The job is quite daunting, but I will rise to the challenge; I like to organize events. To be an usher, all that is needed is a willingness to help, a white top, black pants and a flashlight. We need your flashlight,” Petra says with a big grin. “The best part of Kathaumixw is when you volunteer as an usher, you get to see concerts for free and meet new people.”

Anyone who wants to join the Kathaumixw volunteer family as an usher can email [email protected]. For any other volunteer opportunities or information about concerts and tickets, go to