The Choir marks its third year with Calder collaboration

What: The Choir with Kathryn Calder
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7)
Where: Alix Goolden Performance Hall (907 Pandora Ave.)
Tickets: $15 at Larsen Music, and thechoir.brownpapertickets.com; $18 at the door

 

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Choirs never really went out of style, but it took a stylistic reboot to expand their brand of music to a newer, wider audience.

In recent years, pop songs presented in a choral manner have become a hit with audiences. Everyone from the a capella group Pentatonix — they of the No. 1 Billboard chart debut in 2015 — to Belgium’s all-girl Scala Choir, whose gothic take on Radiohead’s Creep was used in the trailer for Oscar winner The Social Network, have made inroads.

Not only has interest in their ancient artform slowly become a mainstream concern, choirs have also received a big boost in the participation department.

“When the choir started, we didn’t even have a concert booked,” director Marc Jenkins said of his aptly named Victoria choir, The Choir.

“But it started to sound really good right away, and people were having a lot of fun. It just sort of grew and grew.”

The Choir, which is performing its inaugural concert of the 2016 season on Saturday at the 800-seat Alix Goolden Performance Hall, currently has approximately 100 members in its ranks, Jenkins said.

He has the same number on the waiting list, he added, another example of local demand for choirs.

The Choir’s recipe is simple: Take a large group of non-auditioned performers and have them sing original arrangements of popular songs. Jenkins, who manages Larsen Music on Cook Street, has run the choir since 2014.

The Choir will celebrate its third anniversary on Saturday with a new repertoire of music, including some of the curveball variety, with accompaniment from Victoria keyboardist Danuel Tate.

Everything from Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Springsteen to St. Vincent, Beach House and Spoon will be in the program Saturday, Jenkins said.

There will be a set from the 12-person “mini choir,” culled from the large choir, that tackles more complex material, such as Björk’s Joga.

Victoria’s Kathryn Calder of the New Pornographers will perform a set of her own before joining the choir for a finale that simply must be seen, according to Jenkins, who ran through much of the program in rehearsals with Calder and members of The Choir this week.

Calder, a Juno nominee, has been wonderful to work with, Jenkins added.

In tribute to the singer-keyboardist, whose mother died of ALS, proceeds from the event will go to the ALS Cycle of Hope.

“Kathryn has been a star throughout the process,” Jenkins said. “She has been arranging songs and has done everything we asked of her. She is very excited about it.”

The Vienna Boys Choir this isn’t. That said, Jenkins said there is no one way to describe the choir. It offers a range of styles and interests, he said.

“There’s lots of younger people and lots of traditional choir fans. The age group of the choir is concentrated in people in their 30s and early 40s, but the age range can go to people in their 20s and their 60s.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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