Elysia Yung (right) and the Fernie Community Choir performed at Knox United Church on Friday, during their annual spring concert. Read more on page A14. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Community Choir creates musical experience

Thirty members of the Fernie Community Choir graced those attending the Knox United Church with a beautiful variety of vocal talent, last Friday.

Directed by the talented David Pasivirta, ten songs were sung in English, Finnish, Zambian, Swahili and Latin. The members of the choir range in age from 20-years-old to post-retirement. They had prepared for this concert since January. In the past, the group has also learned songs in German, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese.

“I think we had fun and the audience really enjoyed it,” said Pasivirta.

Asked why the group delves so deeply in foreign languages, Pasivirta said, “Because it’s good music.”

Pasivirta’s goal with a performance is to not only sing in a variety of languages, but also become a source for some of the world’s best songs.

“What language it’s in is not of primary importance to me,” said Pasivirta. “It is, are the singers going to enjoy it? Is the audience going to enjoy it? And is it going to create a variety of musical experiences for the listener and the singer?

“I think that’s what keeps people coming back too, is that they know they’re going to get a wide variety of music,” he said.

Hunker Down by Tobin Stokes has been a big favourite for the choir ever since they started rehearsing, and they performed this with perfection and ease. Pasivirta also led the choir in several African folk songs, which they have done throughout the years.

The one mistake made was by Pasivirta himself, when he tuned the choir to the wrong note, prior to the start of a song. When the song started, something was off. Fessing up to his mistake in a comical manner, both the choir and the audience laughed it off and the song started again.

“I think it puts people at ease when the person who’s in charge… is able to admit their mistakes and their fallibility, and say, I’m going to do this, I know how to do this, let’s do this together, I’m also still human,” said Pasivirta.

Pasivirta’s hope is that the audience values what the choir has created. He believes choir is a wonderful opportunity to bring a community together to bond through music.

Usually the community choir only performs twice-annually, once in the spring and once at Christmas. However this year, the choir will be celebrating Oktoberfest which starts mid-September. Their concert is scheduled for The Arts Station and will feature maritime songs from many different eras. This will be a fundraiser for the choir’s trip to Banff in the spring of 2018. Details will follow in an upcoming issue.

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