Members of South Island Harmony (formerly The Victoria Village Squires) celebrates 50 years of making harmony on south Vancouver Island with a concert on April 14 in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay HIgh. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Barbershop harmony hosts gala performance in Oak Bay

50th anniversary event April 14 in Dave Dunnet Community Theatre

South Island Harmony (formerly The Victoria Village Squires) celebrates 50 years of making harmony on south Vancouver Island with a concert on April 14.

“This is our 50th anniversary this year, we’re very excited about that in fact our tag line is 50 in 50. We want to see 50 new men on our risers to celebrate this anniversary,” says chorus director Peter McBride, a 25-year veteran of the hobby.

Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt municipalities have declared April 8 to 14 ‘Barbershop Quartet Week’ in honour of the gala. The chorus celebrates with a performance gala featuring 100 singers on stage for the finale. Guests include the Vancouver Thunderbirds barbershop chorus as the chorus who sponsored them into the harmony society 50 years ago; the Tidesmen from Nanaimo who the locals sponsored into the society; and the championship chorus Pacific Edge from Victoria.

“We’re bookending the show with the song we first sang 50 years ago and closing with a very modern arrangement of the very same song. We’re asking the chorus that helped us get started 50 years ago t one our guest and we’re asking the chorus that we helped start 30 years ago to also be our guest,” McBride said. “This is going to be a huge extravaganza of a cappella singing.”

The Victoria Village Squires was formed in 1968 as part of SPEBSQA Inc, now the Barbershop Harmony Society, an international singing movement some 30,000 strong. Made up of men of good character from all over the Southern Vancouver Island region, the Village Squires perform regularly in the community, offer school and public learning programs, and entertain the public with our great mix of old classics and modern arrangements.

McBride is excited to take the chorus through its paces ahead of the show.

“Really the story is not just about our 50th anniversary. It’s about the 50 years we’ve been singing together and serving this community,” he said. “All the different musical ears and musical styles ail the different uniforms we’ve worn over the years … and the members, some still with us, some regrettably in the choir eternal. This is a big deal for us and we’re pretty excited to share it.”

April 14 sees two concerts at Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High, a 2:30 p.m. matinée followed by a 7:30 evening performance.

Visit southislandharmony.com for tickets.

editor@oakbaynews.com

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