A newly carved totem pole stands bathed in a spotlight at the corner of International Choral Kathaumixw’s Great Hall stage.
In a special ceremony for the Opening Gala Concert on Tuesday, July 5, Tla’amin Nation elder Betty Wilson conducted a blessing of the pole watched over by carver Craig Galligos and his family. Special music from Tla’amin musicians and Kathaumixw singers enhanced the ceremony.
At competitions and concert performances this week, audiences have listened to various choirs, chosen their own favourites, and wondered which one would be declared The Choir of the World at Kathaumixw.
St. Stanislav Youth Choir won the first totem pole in 2014. It travelled all the way to Ljubljana, Slovenia, a city the size of Victoria, BC, located in a little corner of the Alps.
A delegation from Powell River travelled to the European country in May 2015 to present the totem pole to the city. Tla’amin hegus Clint Williams was part of that delegation and told the audience at Tuesday’s opening that he intends to follow the totem pole again to its future location.
Where will that be? At Kathaumixw’s Gala Closing Concert on Saturday, July 9, the winning choir and totem pole recipient will be announced. This year’s list of choirs includes those from Hong Kong, Hungary, New Zealand, Austria and South Africa, as well as from across the United States and Canada. Whether it is from near or far, one of them will earn a unique prize for its community as a tribute to its choral performances.
Top choirs from various categories, as well as soloists, will perform at the Awards Concert Friday, July 8, in the Great Hall, beginning at 8 pm. One of the choirs performing will be the winner of the festival.
While Kathaumixw is much more than competition, having such a unique award provides incentive to choirs to choose Kathaumixw over another festival, according to artistic director Paul Cummings.
“This year we had 54 choirs apply to attend, enough for two festivals,” said Cummings, “so we believe it has made a difference.”
International Choral Kathaumixw Gala Closing Concert
WHEN: Saturday, July 9, 8 pm
WHERE: Great Hall, Powell River Recreation Complex
INFO: 604.485.9633, kathaumixw.org