Residents of Nakusp, along with a few visitors from away, were in for an evening full of treble as sister choirs Harmony and A Buncha Divas performed at the Bonnington Arts Centre on June 11.
The choirs are sisters in more ways than one. Each group has a child of Nakusp’s Rosemarie and Milton Parent within their numbers. The evening was kicked off with both groups coming on stage for a performance of the 1902 song “Bill Bailey”. After “Bill Bailey”, A Buncha Divas stayed on stage to perform several traditional and pop culture hits, including “Danny Boy”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, and “Cups”, made famous by the film Pitch Perfect.
This is the first time two choirs have performed together, and coming to Nakusp was important for them.
“Nakusp was my dad’s hometown, he was born and raised here,’ said Simone Josephson, a member of Harmony, and one of the Parent children. “My mom did most of her growing up years here, so my family has always been connected to Nakusp.”
The Parent children never lived in Nakusp growing up. Their father wanted them raised on the coast where there were more music programs. Also taking part in the evening’s program was Corey de Baat, one of Rosemarie and Milton’s granchildren. He performed a flute solo, “Desperate Measures — Diary of One Mad Mother”, which documents the crazy life of a mother as she takes care of her children.
Two of the eight movements of the piece were performed, “Morning” and Reverie”. With “Morning”, the notes got more disjointed as he played, signaling the insanity and craziness going on as the mother tries to care for her children. With “Reverie” the music becomes a little calmer as bedtime approaches, and ends with the starting notes of “Morning”, indicating the start of another day.
Audience members had a great time at the show.
“I never wanted it to end,” said Barbara Abbey. “I was just bouncing.”
Along with pop hits, classical music was performed as well. Harmony performed Mozart’s Laudate Dominum.
It wasn’t all seriousness during the show. Following Mozart, Harmony put down their song books, and there was a feeling that something very different was about to happen.
This was proven accurate as they got into their version of “It’s Raining Men”. Part way through the song, de Batt and family member Mark McCready came on, dancing and flexing with umbrellas open. The song was easily an audience favourite.
Following intermission A Buncha Divas performed a tender and heartfelt version of “Amazing Grace”, led by the Parent daughters, Lynette and Simone, along with Lynette’s daughter Taya.
Though the family members sing together at different family celebrations, this is the first time they’ve sung together on stage.
“Doing the little trio with the three of us, that was fun.” said Josephson.
Toward the end of the night, Harmony performed “Queen of Soul”, a salute to Aretha Franklin.
Four of Franklin’s many hits were played, “Freedom”, “Say A Little Prayer For You”, “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”, and Respect”.
By the end of the evening, it was hard to believe two hours had gone by.
Though this was the first time the choirs had performed together, and the first time A Buncha Divas played in Nakusp, it won’t be the last.