Island Soul Choir Feels The Spirit

PARKSVILLE, BC — When word spread last year that Brian Tate was stepping down as the music director of Island Soul Choir, some sceptics thought the choir would certainly fold without his leadership. Turns out… they couldn’t have been more wrong!

This Fall marked Karla Mundy’s first full session as the choir’s musical director, and her energy, clarity and youthful spirit has captured the choir members’ hearts, and the choir is so grateful to have her. So it was only fitting that their concerts this month should be entitled “Feel the Spirit”.

“We asked our members what it means for them to be a part of Island Soul Choir,” said Penny Mitchell, the choir’s president. “Almost universally they responded that the music brings joy, beauty, hope and passion into their lives. For people who’ve been told they can’t sing, the choir is a safe place to explore their voice and be heard in the world. A powerful common bond quickly forms among the members, creating a really inclusive community where people encourage and support one another. It’s really a lot of fun, and it’s what keeps our members coming back.”

Soloists add a whole different level of spirit and energy to the songs they sing, that creates a unique symbiosis between them, the choir, and the audience. All choir members are encouraged to try out for the solo parts, even if they’ve never done a solo before. Given that this is a community choir of non-auditioned singers, there is a very wide range of skill levels.

“I was genuinely impressed with the growth of our soloists this term,” said Ms. Mundy. “Everyone was really prepared, had clear intentions with their musical interpretation, and were connected to the feeling of the songs. Unfortunately there aren’t enough solo spots for everyone. So it made it really difficult for me to chose who will solo at the concerts this month. I honestly thought everyone who tried out could have easily sung at one of our concerts.”

Among its membership, Island Soul Choir has a number of husbands and wives singing together. “After countless years of faithfully attending my concerts, my husband is now part of the choir,” says Caroline Edliq. “It’s not just something we can share. It’s been an intriguing journey for me, helping him to grasp the many aspects of being a newcomer.”

Island Soul Choir is a true community choir with more than 100 singers. Their repertoire covers gospel, spirituals, world music, blues, pop, R&B…basically any type of music that touches, moves or inspires the soul. Because Ms. Mundy travels from Vancouver, Island Soul Choir rehearses just once every 3 to 4 weeks in Lantzville, unlike typical choirs that rehearse weekly. This extended schedule attracts singers from all over Vancouver Island as well as Quadra and Gabriola Islands. “Even though we haven’t necessarily had a lot of formal vocal training, we sing from our hearts with a passion and a sense of sharing that is really moving for our audiences,“ adds Ms. Mitchell. “In fact, many people who join the choir do so after watching us perform. We were having such fun, they wanted to be a part of it.”

Karla Mundy is a vibrant and soulful vocalist, pianist, arranger and choir leader. She directs four community choirs in Vancouver in addition to Island Soul Choir, and performs and teaches extensively with her vocal trio, TriVo, with Brian Tate and Dawn Pemberton. Karla released her first solo CD, Way Back, in early December 2012.

The vocal trio Shine will be returning as the choir’s special guests for these concerts, having first performed as concert guests in Spring 2011. These 3 singer/songwriters have a diverse and journeyed background in a wide variety of musical genres, including jazz, folk, barbershop and rock. Their common love of music and lyric underscores their captivating harmonies and the “feel good” response their music evokes from their audiences.

Island Soul Choir will present Feel The Spirit Saturday, November 23 at 7:30pm, and again Sunday, November 24 at 2:30pm. Both concerts will be held at Knox United Church, 345 Pym Street, Parksville. Adult tickets are $18, and seniors and students tickets are $15; children 12 and under are free. Tickets are on sale through the choir’s website at and at various outlets in Nanaimo, Oceanside, Courtenay and Comox. For outlet locations and other information, visit the choir’s website at, or call John at 250-468-7979. You really don’t want to miss out!


FMI, contact:

John Racinskas, Marketing Chair                                  Penny Mitchell, Communications Chair

250-468-7979,                         250-802-3345,

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, November 2013

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