The power of the Voices unite

The Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra & Chorus will be joined by special guests and incredible vocal ensembles for Voices on April 9.

CSO Director Paula DeWit conducts the Children’s Choir as they rehearse for Voices on April 9. These young voices will join incredible vocal soloists

You’ll hear range unlike ever before.

In regards to the level of talent and creativity in programming, Voices is tuning up to be one of the most exceptional concerts that the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (CSO) has ever undertaken in their 16 year history.

“It’s showing off the diversity of the singers in our groups,” CSO Director Paula DeWit says.

“And it gives everyone a chance to perform more than orchestral music, but with that orchestral accompaniment,” she said.

An outstanding lineup of soloists, duets and ensembles will take on everything from Mozart to Gaga, accompanied by the incredible orchestra as they play DeWit’s intricate arrangements.

Between the haunting notes of the male Chorus opening the production with Gregorian chant, and the highly emotional rendition of Leonard Choen’s Hallelujah at the end, the concert will progress through the mixed ages and formats of music.

Listen in delight as Rebecca Paulding and Andrew Byerlay sing selections from Mozart’s Opera Così Fan Tutti in the first half of the concert.

The CSO Starlets can’t wait to perform unique arrangements of The Andrews Sisters’ Bei Mir Bist Du Schön and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

The Fraser Valley music community lost a gifted musician at the beginning of the year. Adrian Albulescu was the concertmaster for the Chilliwack Symphony for many years.

Dedicated young dancer Audrey Tan will perform classical pointe on stage to the soft sounds of violinist Karina Slupski and harpist Miya Otake playing Jules Massenet’s Méditation. Audrey studied violin with Albulescu for seven years, and the dance will be her tribute to her former teacher.

Prepare yourself for the cuteness and unprecedented vocal elegance as the Chilliwack Children’s Choir take the stage. They’ll round out the first half of the production with Evening Prayer from the well-known Hansel and Gretel opera. They’ll sing two gorgeous Fauré pieces, as well as a 1970 Chicago favourite, Colour My World, with Rebecca Paulding and CSO flautist Carol Dymond.

DeWit founded this group of 30 young ones back in January. “It’s been great,” DeWit says of their time together thus far. She helped them perfect two-part harmonies and sophisticated bows during a recent rehearsal for their first big performance.

With a few more years under his belt, Richard Tichelman will perform a powerful rendition of House of the Rising Sun by Animals.

This 16-year-old has been building up his performance resume since age nine, preparing him to deliver powerhouse vocals with DeWit’s unique arrangement for the CSO.

The night will also feature an original piece recently written by Joanne Hankey and Steve Cossins arranged for the CSO. This stunning work is composed to honour the Fraser River, and will be complemented by a video of the winding river created by producer Matthew A. Hawkins.

Our very own Mayor Sharon Gaetz will deliver a ballad as well, and this time it’s not O Canada.

Growing up in household of seven, with a piano and a guitar, singing was always a popular pastime for Mayor Gaetz and her family. She’s balancing trepidation and excitement as she rekindles the passion for expression through song that she fostered as as a pastor.

“I think we all find times in our lives where a piece of music, or an artist, or a particular song, have really great meaning for us,” Mayor Gaetz explained.

As she listened to DeWits arrangement of Saved by Jann Arden, Gaetz explained that she chose the song because it was a “breath of fresh air” that helped her heal during the difficult time when her daughter Jenna passed away.

Formerly Agassiz-based dancer Carolyn Currey has returned to bring the audience an emotionally-stirring dedication to our Syrian refugee families.

She’ll dance a self-choreographed classical ballet as the orchestra and Belle Voci perform Karl Jenkins’ And the Mother Did Weep. Currey, of 1:11 Ministries in Ontario, is drawing inspiration from a relevant Bible verse, “In this world you’ll have trouble, but I’ve overcome the world,” she recited.

And if the audience hasn’t been moved enough by the evening’s performances, they may end up in tears as an a cappella ensemble takes on a gorgeous arrangement of Lady Gaga’s latest piece, Til It Happens to You.

These highlights represent only a portion of the planned repertoire for the Voices on April 9, taking place at 7:30 p.m. on at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

Tickets are $25 for adults, available at the Centre Box Office, by phone at 604-391-SHOW or online at

Listen to some of DeWit’s arrangements for the concert on Soundcloud.

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