A Cappella Plus History
L-R Back row: James Duthie, Bruce Farquharson,
Teresa McQuarrie, Solveig Farquharson,
Front row: Ann Smith, Dann Cox, Val Duthie
L-R Back row: Murray Harris, Pat Carpenter, Dann Cox, James Duthie, Peter Hewitt,
Front Row: Janet Wright, Ann Smith, Sharon Sinclair, Kathleen Lougheed-Mercier, Solveig Farquharson, Val Duthie.
L-R Back row: David Moddle, Dan Hudson, Dann Cox,
Rob Sinclair, James Duthie
Front row: Sharon Sinclair, Kathleen Lougheed-Mercier, Tina Jones, Kelly Townsend, Val Duthie, Rosemary Lindsay
In 1980 a few members of Malaspina Choir, prompted by Phil Wallbank, a keener with a bagful of music, began meeting after choir to sing madrigals. Out of those wine-soaked late-night sessions, A Cappella Plus was born. Originally eight in number, we started performing in public in 1983 under the name Nanaimo A Cappella Singers, putting on our own concerts and performing at community events and festivals.
In 1990 we decided to expand to twelve, and have a director. Bruce Farqharson volunteered to take on the job. As our membership expanded, so did our repertoire to include some accompanied numbers so, prodded by Steve Jones of Malaspina College, we changed our name to A Cappella Plus to acknowledge that we were more than an unaccompanied group. We began to sing more jazz, frequently accompanied by combos, and to undertake a greater variety of gigs. We participated in the fundraising campaign for the Port Theatre, sang in the opening concert in 1998, and in 2000 had our 20th anniversary concert there.
Bruce retired in 2003, coming out of retirement to direct a performance on The World, a massive floating resort which had docked in Nanaimo. That same year we hired Rosemary Lindsay to be our director. She began the tradition of weekend retreats, and also took us over to that “accidental Eden”, Lasqueti Island, where some truly memorable performances took place. In 2005 we had our 25th anniversary concert in the Port Theatre, featuring a large number of our alumni, and in 2006 we released our first CD, As Time Goes By.
Changing membership and changing tastes led us to put on our first purely pop concert, Feelin' Groovy in 2007. In 2008 in addition to our usual concerts and guest appearances we participated in Kathaumixw, the international choral festival in Powell River, (achieving the distinction of being the only choir to have danced a pavane with a French choir in the Powell River Legion). A Cappella Plus participated in Nanaimo Sings! Festivals in 2008 and 2011.
Recent years have been especially busy, with charity events, guest appearances, the Olympic Torch run, our 30th anniversary concert and joint concerts with Jubilate choir from Vancouver. We have continued to expand our repertoire, exploring Asian music in From Belfast to Beijing in 2013 and Australian and New Zealand music in From Down Under to Up There in 2013. Also in 2013 we began putting on cabaret style performances involving small groups from within the choir and, at the other extreme, were invited to form part of the choir performing Mozart's Requiem with the Vancouver Island Symphony in the fall of 2014.