New chair Steven Cramaro recently attended his first organizing committee meeting for International Choral Kathaumixw, scheduled for July 4 to 8, 2022.
The biennial festival, cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, was replaced by a virtual event.
Cramaro, who grew up in the qathet region, returned this summer and currently teaches music at Brooks Secondary School and provides private lessons at Powell River Academy of Music.
His love of music began as a young boy watching the Lawrence Welk Show.
“After watching a few episodes, I thought the accordion was a pretty cool instrument,” explained Cramaro. “My friend’s grandfather Umberto Greco taught me to play.”
He eventually participated in Powell River Festival of the Performing Arts for several years.
Cramaro began playing the saxophone in grade six band class and in high school started to play the clarinet as well.
After graduation in 2010, he attended University of Victoria, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in education and saxophone.
He taught for a few years in elementary, middle and high schools in Victoria, returning to the area this summer after accepting a position at Brooks.
Cramaro sang in the 2010 Kathaumixw festival with his high school youth choir, returning in summers while at university to work as an assistant venue manager under Cathy Reckenberg and subsequently as venue manager for Evergreen Theatre.
“The whole festival is such an amazing opportunity to showcase our lovely little slice of the world,” said Cramaro. “We invite choirs here and when they come, we get to share music with everyone.”
Throughout the pandemic, Cramaro said it was evident people were missing that in-person connection to music so it is important to offer that again.
“The opportunity to share music, share laughter and share beautiful nature,” he added.
Cramaro invites anyone who wishes to volunteer in some capacity with the 2022 event to join through the online registration form on the Kathaumixw website, kathaumixw.org.
“Music is such an important part of everyone’s life,” he said, “and touches them in so many ways; we are glad to be able to give that to them again.”