A classical vocal and guitar duo are set to perform at the Mountainside Church on Feb. 5. The duo, comprised of singer Noémi Kiss and classical guitarist Rita Deane, are performing in Fernie as part of a series of five performances in the East and West Kootenays.
Both performers live in the West Kootenays – Deane resides in Nelson while Kiss lives in Argenta, a small town on the Northeast end of Kootenay Lake. Kiss is originally from Hungary and had trained all over Europe before moving to Argenta. While studying in London, she met Nancy Argenta, who changed her last name in honour of her hometown. Nancy Argenta is now a London-based Opera singer.
“I met Nancy Argenta there, who was my voice teacher, and I became friends with her and we kept in touch and then in 2008, I came out to Victoria to visit them,” said Kiss. “I was going to spend a few months here to just work on my voice and get a few months for myself and then I met her brother and we fell in love with each other.”
Kiss moved to Argenta and started a life there with her partner.
Deane and Kiss met and started collaborating after Deane was searching for a voice coach for her daughter.
“When you’re in a small area and somebody of this caliber has moved to the region, all of the other musicians find out about it pretty quickly,” said Deane. “She was actually looking for somebody to accompany her in some upcoming performances. I am myself a classical guitarist, we ended up doing a few concerts together, and we work really well together, and she is just a delight to work with. One of those people that you get on stage with and I trust her implicitly in terms of whatever happens, it comes out sounding wonderful.”
With the support of the Columbia Basin Trust and the 88 Keys Piano Society, Kiss and Deane arranged for a small tour around the Kootenay region.
“I applied for some funding through the Columbia Basin Trust because taking concerts to smaller areas is usually a bit of a financial risk and one can’t guarantee a large audience,” said Deane. “Performing up in places like Argenta, where there is one hall in they middle of nowhere and you wonder if anybody is going to show up to a concert here, and then five minutes before hand, the roll in from the hills and it’s standing room only and people sitting in the aisles.”
Kiss and Deane are performing a mix of contemporary and classical songs from a variety of eras.
“The songs are ranging from 16th century to the 20th century and different nationalities and compositions. We started to work together a few years ago and we put together a few programs and this one is a lot of fun because it’s all different languages and lots of different characters and different colours and different stories. It’s very intimate.”
Kiss encouraged people to come out, even if they might not be familiar with the style of music.
“Don’t be afraid of the composers you might not know of. A lot of it might be lesser known composers but it’s quite an unusual, really, really exciting repertoire and really easy to digest.”
The two will be serenading the audience at the Mountainside Church on Feb. 5, starting at 7 p.m.