Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan

Cowichan Consort gets set for first live show in two years

A guest conductor and three soloists will perform

Getting back in game is as easy as 1-2-3 for the Cowichan Consort Orchestra and Choir.

One big show after a two-year live performance hiatus will feature three soloists on April 23 starting at 7:30 p.m. at Duncan Christian Reformed Church (930 Trunk Rd.).

The group’s first in-person show since March 7, 2020 will feature Charles Gounod’s Mass to St Cecilia and will be dedicated to long-time Consort choir members Judith McIvor and Jim Moore who recently passed away.

Leading the performance will be guest conductor Erica Phare-Bergh, the artistic director of Voices in Motion – an intergenerational choir for people with dementia, caregivers, students and friends. She also directs the Newcombe Singers and the Vancouver Island Chamber Choir in Victoria.

“Erica was so well liked after conducting the Consort in Dec. 2018, that Consort choir members asked to have her back,” explained CCOC’s Joy Ann Bannerman. “We booked her for May 2020 and Dec. 2020 but both concerts were cancelled because of the pandemic and now finally she is able to conduct us once more. We are lucky to have her one more time before she goes back to live in Alberta.”

Soloists Gary Relyea (bass-baritone), Adam Dyjach (tenor), and Julia Morgan (soprano) will delight.

“A voice of uncommon beauty…. a name to note,” wrote one British music critic Andrew Porter of a young Gary Relyea. “Today that promise has been more than fulfilled through performances with opera companies and orchestras on five continents, and a stellar career that boasts more appearances with the Toronto Symphony than any other male singer in the last 45 years,” said a press release from the Consort. “Gary is very happy to be back with the CCOC performing live on stage again for the first time in two years.”

A choral scholar, Dyjach sings with the Schooner Cove Singers, a brand new professional choir based in Parksville, BC. In the past, he has been a member of the St. Christopher Singers, Victoria Philharmonic Choir, Victoria Choral Society and Pacific Opera Victoria Chorus.

Morgan’s voice has a “velvet smoothness” according to the Audio Society of Atlanta. Her “full-bodied, caramel voice brings passion, intelligence, and nuance to her craft.”

According to the Consort, the versatile artist performs with choirs, orchestras, and opera companies across Canada and beyond.

Tickets are $20 each and available from Consort members and at the door. Masks are advised and audience members will be encouraged to sit apart. COVID-19 protocols will be in place.

The Consort, formed in 1991 and comprised of musicians from all over the Cowichan Valley, presents three to five concerts a year. It’s resident Conductor is Nathan Jacklin.

“We we are so very happy to be back making music together,” Bannerman said.


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Gary Relyea

Gary Relyea