ArtSpring’s ‘cup’ overflows this weekend at Salt Spring Singers’ Hallelujah! performance

February 19, 2017

It seems that islands, in particular, are places where the cup named art overflows whether it is visual art, music, theatre or the written word.

Salt Spring Island is no exception and might even have more of The Arts being created than many other island meccas for the innovative.

I know Christmas time seems to overflow with musical concerts with the Salt Spring Singers being perhaps the most prevalent.

Here is an article:

Gulf Islands Driftwood
Wednesday, December 15, 1999
ArtSpring’s ‘cup’ overflows this weekend at Salt Spring Singers’ Hallelujah! performance
by Tanya Lester

If ArtSpring was a cup, it would have been overflowing last weekend with the Salt Spring Singers and their seasonal extravaganza called Hallelujah! which included selections from Handel’s Messiah.

When the choir members glided onto stage — the women dressed in black gowns with sparkling silver and multi-coloured collars and the men in formal white shirts with bow ties and pants — it was filled to capacity, as were the audience seats.

When tenor soloist Don Fisher sang: “Every mountain and hill may glow, every valley shall be exalted,” he could have been referring to the shine exuding from the almost 90 singers as the sound their voices floated up and through the air to the audience.

Alto Opal Ackerman, who joined the Singers’ before Christmas in 1993, believes the choir “gets better every year”. She felt the addition of more men who sing tenor and bass gave the performance a much fuller sound this year.

When Ackerman joined, the choir had 40 members. Her self-consciousness about her voice made her shy away from performing solo but she had enjoyed singing in choirs previously.

“You really develop a lot of confidence singing in the choir,” she said. The Singers rehearse every Tuesday night with music director Wendy Milton and , as the winter concert approached, spent another per week doing sectional practices with Betty Rothwell, who was also a solo performer in Hallelujah!

Ackerman enjoys the wide age range of people now involved in the Singers and the social aspects. She said some members like to develop comic scenarios about the songs and it is important to put that bantering out of mind so one is not laughing when its comes time to go onto the stage.

Some choir members were so engrossed by the voices of the children (Ruby Black, Margo Milton, and Hayley Winn) that they almost forgot their cue to join once more in the singing, said Ackerman.

Cellist Jane Phillips of the Salt Spring Chamber Players, felt the event was an “impassioned performance” with Milton being a “very steady and very clear” conductor.

Phillips, who has played the Messiah many times, still enjoys it tremendously. “It’s the spirit that does it,” she said in reference to the weekend performance.

For Phillips, it was also an opportunity to once again play in the company of violinists Norman Nelson and Jean Knight who she last worked with in 1967 when she joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Fisher felt the presence of the Salt Spring Chamber Players was exciting.

“It gives you a lift,” Fisher said, who had not experienced this type of musical back-up before.

Hallelujah! marked the Singers’ 25th annual Christmas concert.


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Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew which are both available on Amazon or from the author as well as Dreams and Trickers and Women’s Rights/Writes.

Tanya is a psychic who specializes in tea leaf reading and tarot. She is also a reiki master and a full-time house sitter. For more information on her services, please contact her directly at or call 250-538-0086. Also her website is at and she has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google.

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