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'Mr. O Canada' joins choir as new musical director

Mark Donnelly will direct the Peninsula-based Pacific Showtime Men's Chorus
Mark Donnelly

The Peninsula-based Pacific Showtime Men’s Chorus has started a new year with a new musical director – none other than Mr. O Canada himself, Mark Donnelly.

The famed anthem singer, opera singer, voice teacher and leader of classical vocal ensembles replaces the group’s well-respected former director, Gareth Evans, who retired at the end of last year.

“We’re very pleased that Mark agreed to join us,” said chorus president Leigh Anderson. “Mark has been out to two rehearsals so far – bringing two of his sons, who are great singers themselves – and he’s already introduced a new song to us.”

Pacific Showtime Men’s Chorus – primarily an a cappella group rooted in barbershop singing has already established a positive reputation over the last six years in shows and events in venues all over the Lower Mainland, including two produced by the group itself.

“Our mission is to provide a quality choral organization for experienced singers who enjoy performing as a hobby in a variety of musical styles,” Anderson said.

“We’re confident that Mark will take us to the level of excellence we seek.”

Anderson said he expects Donnelly will make some changes in the group to expand into a wider variety of repertoire.

“We do have some new members who don’t have the same barbershop background as the rest of us, and that’s good because we want to diversify,” he said.

Donnelly was “at the top of the list” of candidates for musical director, Anderson said.

“Mark wanted to take time to find out who we are and what our repertoire is before discussing where we’ll go in future,” he said, noting that Donnelly himself has some background in singing with barbershop groups during time he spent in Pennsylvania.

“We’ve reached the stage where this is a good opportunity for us to sit down and think where we want to go,” Anderson said.

“One of the things we’re excited about is to have him working on the performance aspect of it.”

Experienced singers who’d like to audition for the chorus can arrange to attend a rehearsal by calling Anderson at 604-536-5292.

Those interested in booking the group may contact Bob Dolphin at 604-534-7548.


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