AURA was the brainchild of Imant Raminsh and Val Witham. It was suggested at a Symphony Choir rehearsal that a group form to sing madrigals and folk songs for pleasure.  The choir first operated under the auspices of the Vernon campus of Okanagan College and an army hut was its first home.

The first public performance was on May 12th, 1979, at the Arts Centre, sponsored by the Vernon Chamber Music Society.  Several other groups participated:  Vernon Community Music School Chamber Choir, VSS Grade 12 Choir and the Vancouver Cello Club.  This event was not recorded, but the Christmas 1979 concert and almost all AURA’s subsequent performances since have been preserved for posterity, thanks to Doug Sonju.

The choir began with sixteen members, including Imant and Val.  Lifetime Memberships have been granted to Don Levey, Peter Ward, Marion Weighill, Anne Kopp, Janet Armstrong and Robin Suddaby.  By the second concert, the choir had increased to twenty members and a much more ambitious programme was offered.  It was presented at the Powerhouse Theatre, with Louise Grinstead as accompanist.

At the time of AURA’s inauguration, Imant directed the Okanagan Symphony Choir.  Valerie Witham was a German professor at Okanagan College and moved to Victoria when she retired.  Her fine soprano voice often took solo parts in AURA’s performances.


1979    May 12th – AURA performed three madrigals and four other songs.  Other participants:  Vernon Community Music School Chamber Choir, VSS Grade 12 Choir and Vancouver Cello Club. Location: Arts Centre.

DecemberLet Heaven and Nature Sing at Powerhouse Theatre with Early Music Band:  Motets, Bach, Haydn, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Renaissance dances and traditional carols.  Accompanist:  Louise Grinstead.

1980    April 14th – Performing Arts Concert at the Recreation Centre, together with other groups, including the Senior Citizens’ Choir.

May 16th  Singing the Springrise. Collection of Renaissance Music. Venue: Vernon Sr.Sec. School.  Accompanist:  Louise Grinstead. Soprano Soloist Erica Northcott; Ray Nurse – Lute; Walter Burton – Oboe.  Sponsored by Okanagan College, Vernon Centre

October 25th  An Evening of Renaissance Music and Dance  Venue: VSS Cafetorium; This was a Vernon Community Music School event with the Early Music Band and guest artists.

December 13th  A Gift of Peace.  At Trinity United Church 8pm; included music by Bach (cantata 142), Vivaldi (Magnificat); 16 piece orchestra with Edith Parkyn on Organ. Rehearsal Accompanist Louise Grinstead. Soloists: Valerie Witham, Jo Jones , Jean Millman, Howard Reimer, Hugh Carter.

1981    May 8 & 9 In the Greening of the Year. Trinity United Church at 8:15pm; O.K. College Theatre, Kelowna at 8:15pm.; Program included: Stabat Mater – by Caldara and Slovak, Canadian & American folk songs. Soloists: Valerie Witham, Jo Jones, Howard Reimer, Hugh Carter  Accompanist: Louise Grinstead. Instrumentalists: Denis Letourneau, Carole Ruth – violin; Susanne Letourneau – viola; Georgia Mahoney – bass; Lex Moser – accordion

December 18 & 19With Resounding Joy  Venues: All Saints Anglican Church Vernon, St. Michael’s Anglican Church Kelowna; 20 piece orchestra Edith Parkyn – organ.

1982    May 7 & 8Back to Nature Kelowna Okanagan College Theatre and Kalamalka Centre, OK College Theatre.  Marjorie Close Accompanist.

December 17  & December 18  In Dulci Jubilo St. Michaels Anglican Church, Kelowna, All Saints Anglican Church Vernon. Instrumentalists: Josephine Karen – rehearsal and Performance Pianist, Edith Parkyn – Organ; Carole Ruth – Lute, Recorder, Violin; Susanne Letourneau – Viola; Denis Letourneau – Violin; Cuyler Page – Hammered Dulcimer, Recorder, Bassoon.

1983    SpringSimple Gifts

May 22nd – B.C. Chorfest hosted by Symphony Choir

December 4th – 31st Annual Festival of Carols, All Saints Anglican Church. Accompanist: Barbara Haag.


1984    May 5th May Basket – Performed at Ok College Theatre, Vernon.

Music: Fauré Requiem, Raminsh, Purcell’s “Dido & Aeneas”; Soloists: Margaret Burr, Valerie Witham, Wilma Hartley and Al Hiebert..  Instrumentalists: Beverley Martens, Carole Ruth – violins; Susanne Letourneau – viola; John Wells – cello; Barbara Haag – harpsichord & piano.

December 14 & 15Sharing guest artists: Nova Children’s Choir – conductor Imant Raminsh, assistant conductor Mary Landers. Instrumentalists: piano – Gerry Haak (rehearsals & concert); violins – Bev Martens, Ken Stromberg; viola- Bob Woodley; cello – Judi Folk.

1985    May 5th at All Saints Anglican Church – Bravo Bach. “Jesu, Meine Freude & Peasant Cantata. Also premiere of Raminsh Three Latvian Folk Songs. Instrumentalists:  violin – Bev Martens, Carole Ruth; viola – David Benda, Robert Woodley; cello – John Wells; Bass – Laszek Kasprzak; flute – Jean Woodley; Organ – Edith Parkyn; Piano & Harpsichord – Gerry Haak.

November 12th – Concert at St. Michael’s, Kelowna.  Accompaniment:  Ruth Siemens (piano); Edith Parkyn (organ).

December 13/14th Sing We Exultant – music of Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Schutz.Location:  All Saints Anglican Church Vernon.  Performance time 8pm.Guest Artists:  The Early Music Band.   Instrumentalists:  violin: David Benda, Richard Creel, Beverly Martens, Carole Ruth, Robert Woodley; viola: Susanne Letourneau; cello: George Kiraly; Organ: Edith Parkyn; Piano: Ruth Siemens.

1986    March 8th –at  All Saints Anglican Church, Vernon, March 22nd – at Abbey Arts Center, Abbotsford:  Choirs in Harmony with Valley Festival Singers.  Accompaniment:  Ruth Siemens (piano); Edith Parkyn (organ).

May 13th – From Spring’s A-Bounty (Duruflé Requiem).  Soloist Valerie Witham, Jo Jones, Al Hiebert. Piano – Ruth Siemens; Organ –  Edith Parkyn.

Dec. 12th/13th – All Saints Anglican Church  Peace, Peace, Peace – Bach, Mozart, Pergolesi, Berlioz, Charpentier, Accompaniment by flutes – Jean Woodley and Bronwen Young, Violins – David Benda, Yvonne Kushnier and Carole Ruth, Viola – Bob Woodley, Cello – Ramona Howie, Bass – George Kiraly.  Accompaniment:  Ruth Siemens (piano); Edith Parkyn (organ).

1987    April 18th A Flowering Branch – Raminsh In the Night We Shall Go In (premiere), Ramorna Howie on cello; Missa Brevis by Kodaly, Palestrina and Willan – Soloists: Val Witham, Marion Weighill, Ruth Siemens and Al Hiebert.  Accompaniment:  Edith Parkyn (organ); Ruth Siemens (piano – rehearsal and concert). Also Canadian Folk Songs, 2 spirituals and 2 humorous selections, Old Mother Hubbard and Little Jack Horner            December 4th & 5th 8 pm – Joy to the World. All Saints Anglican Church; (Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Gabrielli)  Soloist: Jake Konrad, Al Hiebert, Valerie Witham. Instrumentalists: flute: Linda Bricker, Debbie Hughes; violin: David Benda, Yvonne Kushnier, Beverly Martens, Carole Ruth; viola: Bob Woodley; cello: Ramorna Howie; Bass: George Kiraly; Piano and Organ: Cynthia Polder.     

Dec 22nd – Festival of Lessons and Carols at All Saints and Okanagan College

1988    Feb. 14th Hearts & Flowers – Cabaret at Village Green Hotel

April 29th 8pm Trinity United, Vernon, April 30th 8 pm –  First United Church, Salmon Arm:  The Spirit Swings. Soloists: Richard Brockman, Joan Weaver, Hugh Carter, Val Witham Jake Konrad.   Accompanists:  Cynthia Polder; Marjorie Close – concerts.

Chorfest in Abbotsford as core choir – commission from Imant

October 27th – Kelowna International Festival of Arts.  Accompanist:  Pat Devlin.

December 16th and 17th 8 pmChristmas Celebration–    “10th Anniversary – songs from our past.”All Saints Anglican Church    Accompanist:  Pat Devlin.

Dec. 20th – Lessons & Carols at All Saints, 12:15 pm

1989    Feb 24th – at Lake Country Alliance Church.  Accompanist:  Pat Devlin.

Feb 26th 7:30 pmWine & Roses – Cabaret at Vernon Lodge

May 12th  8 pm – Salmon Arm First United Church, May 13th 8 pm – Vernon, Trinity United, May 14th 2 pm – Kelowna Willow Park Mennonite Church:  Bach B Minor Mass, with soloists Erica Northcott, Val Witham, Lydia Reimer, Lars Kaario, and Gary Dahl, plus orchestra (10th Anniversary)

December 20th – Festival of Lessons & Carols at All Saints, 12:15 pm Organist M.Close

December 15th & 16th Hallelujah – St. John’s Lutheran, Vernon – Raminsh Magnificat, Rachmaninoff Vespers, 2 Handel Hallelujah,  Bach, and Christmas Carols. Soloists: Joan Gass, Don Ennis, Val Witham and Elaine Kiraly.  Accompanist: Marjorie Close.

1990    February 24th The Night they Invented Champagne – Cabaret, Village Green Inn – acc. M. Close

May 5th Serenade to Music – All Saints Anglican Church. Music by: Willan, Tippett, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Aaron Copland.

 Dec. 8th/9th – All Saints, Vernon;  Dec. 11th –  St. Andrews, Kelowna:  Bach Christmas Oratorio – Soloists: Dorothy Scott, Lynne McMurtry, Colin deBourcier, and Al Hiebert, plus trumpets, tympani, cello, bass, oboe and flute. Organist: M. Close.  Choir women wore new shiny, blue blouses made by Ria Carpay.  In the program for this concert, AURA’s repertoire was listed as including the following:  Palestrina Stabat Mater, Charpentier Midnight Mass for Christmas, Purcell Dido and Aeneas, Vivaldi Gloria, Bach Jesu, Meine Freude, Mozart Mass in C Minor, Schubert Mass in G Major, Kodaly Missa Brevis, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music, Raminsh Requiem, and Requiems of Fauré and Duruflé 

1991    April 26th 8pm – Salmon Arm, April 27th 8pm –Vernon, April 28th 2pm – St. Andrew’s Church Kelowna, Mozart Requiem and Te Deum, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death – Soloists: Elizabeth Scott, Jo Jones, Walter Goerzen, and Al Hiebert.  Accompanist:  Marjorie Close (organ).  Partially funded through a grant from the Koerner Foundation.

Dec 15th, 16th and 17th – Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton –Messiah by Handel, with the OSO conducted by Leonard Camplin. Soloists: Alexandra Babbel, Joan McIntyre, Ken Ross and Edgar Murdoch

1992    May 8th, 8pm – All Saints, Vernon, May 9th, 8pm Clearbrook with Valley Festival Singers, May 10th 2pm St. Andrew’s United Church, North Vancouver – Sing a New Song – Raminsh Psalm 104 plus three Latvian songs, Vaughan Williams, Bach, Rutter, plus three lighter songs. Soloists: Terry Logan, Jo Jones, Ernie Ford, Al Hiebert and Edgar Murdoch. Acc. M.Close

December ___ 8pm – All Saints, Vernon – Gloria: Puccini Messa di Gloria, Mendelssohn, Ave Maria by Verdi, Bruckner and Rossini, and Christmas carols.  Soloists: Terry Logan, Walter Goerzen, Al Hiebert and Edgar Murdoch.  acc. M. Close.

1993    May 7th – All Saints, Vernon, May 8th Okanagan Mission, Kelowna – Poulenc Gloria Fauré Requiem, Raminsh Songs of the Lights.  Accompanist:  Marjorie Close. Soloists: Al Hiebert, Andrea Young, Ardie Burnham, Terry Logan, Ernie Ford.  Flute: Sonya Spreen; Glockenspiel David Nordstrom

October 23rd, 7pm – Trinity United Church, Vernon – Showcase 1993 with dancers, soloists, Senior Citizens Choir and the School of Speech and Drama

December 3rd and 4th, 8pm – All Saints, Vernon – Vivaldi Gloria, Christmas carols and motets.

1994    Feb 26th 8pm – Cabaret concert at the Schubert Centre

May 7th, 8pm – Trinity United, Vernon, May 8th Anglican Church, Kelowna, – 15th Anniversary Concert, excerpts from Mozart  Mass in C and Bach B Minor Mass, Ave Verums  by Byrd, Mozart and Raminsh, Raminsh I Will Sing Unto the Lord and Latvian folk songs, followed by Spirituals. acc. M. Close.  Ticket prices at this time were $10 and $7 for students.

Dec 2nd and 3rd  – All Saints, Vernon – a Bach Cantata, Christmas carols, Saint Saens Christmas Oratorio with choir and soloists. Note of interest, ticket prices $12, $7 for students and $35 for family.  AURA choir dues were $60 a term.

1995    March 11th Cascade of Choirs, in Kelowna

April 14th, 2pm at Trinity United, Vernon, 8pm in Kelowna, April 15th 7pm in Salmon Arm – Bach St. John Passion with invited guests Okanagan Festival Singers and Viva Musica. Soloists Erica Northcott (sop), Lynne McMurtry (mezzo), Mark Dubois (tenor), Grant Allert (baritone), William Kelly (bass)

Nov 4th AURA held a workshop with Fabiana Katz and received a BCCF grant of 142.00.

Dec 1st and 2nd New World ChristmasNavidad Nuestra (Argentinian Folk Mass by Ramirez et al).  Piano & harpsichord: M.Close

1996    Feb 10th at the Schubert Centre – Sugar and Spice Cabaret – Neil Fraser featured on guitar. Tickets $20 including snacks.  A light program including Gilbert and Sullivan, PDQ Bach, some musical comedy, spirituals and a song by Aileen Gentles.

April 27th 8pm, April 28th 2pm at Trinity United – Songs in the Greening of the Year – Palestrina, Bruckner, Japanese Folk Songs, Braham’s gypsy songs, Haydn’s Mass, Garden songs by Fanny Hensel, Stephen Foster. Note of interest: 24 singers in total and this concert was not well attended. Piano: M.Close

Dec 14th and 15th – Alleluia

1997    Spring Concert Songs of the Seven Continents, songs from Venezuela, Africa, Canada and other countries.

May 10th 8:00pm at Kelowna Community Theatre and May 11th 2:00pm at Vernon Recreation Centre – Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms with Okanagan Festival Singers and Musaic Vocal Ensemble, conducted by Leroy Wiens and accompanied by members of Okanagan Symphony Orchestra with Roslyn Frantz on organ. Soloists Alexandra Babbel (sop) and Dale Throness (baritone)

May 16th, 17th, 18th – Nelson BCCF Chorfest.  Jon Washburn commissioned In the Shadow of Evening Rocks by Imant Raminsh with text by Becky Strube.

Christmas concertMagnificat by Raminsh, and excerpts from a Bach Cantata and a Schubert Mass.  Accompanist: Marjorie Close.

1998    April 25 & 26  One World, Many Songs.  St. John’s Lutheran Church, Vernon ; First United Church Salmon Arm. Accompanist M.Close; Soloists:  Paul Hunter, Nancy Wageman, Al Hiebert, Elaine Kiraly, Kathy Wallace, Debbie Parmenter, Marion Weighill.  Percussion for Missa Luba : Allison Watt, Cory Bagg, Glen Goerzen Jesson Moen, Susan Whyte, Myles Bigelow, Elizabeth Close.

Dec 5th and 6th – A retrospective of the past 20 years – All Saints Church. acc. M. Close; Soloists: Valerie Witham, Leona Lane.

Dec 6th – Rotary Carol Festival

1999    May 1st 8pm – Vernon, May 2nd 2pm – Salmon Arm – Beethoven Missa Solemnis (20th Anniversary Concert, other choir members invited to participate).  Guest soloists: Erica Northcott, Lynne McMurtry, Colin Balzer, Jonathan Liebich, together with a thirty-two piece orchestra and organ accompaniment by Marjorie Close.  Note of interest – Koerner Foundation donated $1500.00.

Dec 11th – 13th Handel Messiah with the OSO in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm, Rosemary Thomson conducting

Dec 21st – AURA sang at a fundraiser for the Vernon Food Bank.

2000    April 26th – Imant Raminsh Songs of Earth and Sky performed by AURA members, the Vernon Youth Ensemble, Terry Logan and fifteen string players from the OSO. This was presented as part of the North Okanagan Community Concert Association Series.

May 6th 8 pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon, May 7th 2 pm – First United Church, Salmon Arm, May 13th 7:30 pm – St. Michael & All Angels Anglican Church, Kelowna – The Promise of Living  – 20th Century music – Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms, Poulenc, Raminsh, Bernstein, Orff, Samuel Barber and Aaron Copeland. Soloist: Darryl Auten.  acc. M. Close.

October 14th – Hospice benefit concert at Trinity United

 November 25th 2pm and 8pmA Jubilant Celebration with nine instrumentalists, Mozart Vespers, 16th Century motets and Christmas carols and Vivaldi Magnificat and Bach Chorales. Soloists: Terry Logan, Debbie Parmenter, Krista Blackmore, Jake Konrad, Al Hiebert.

Dec 6th – Rotary Carol Festival

Dec 12-16th Individual singers from AURA and Scott Singers performed in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the OSO

2001    April 7th 8 pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon, and April 8th 2 pm – First United Church, Salmon Arm – The Trumpet Sounds Within-a My Soul – Kodaly, Dvorak, Beethoven, Schubert, Bach, Vaughan Williams, Raminsh, plus negro spirituals and water songs. Soloists: Terry Logan, Sandra Head, Debbie Parmenter, Krista Blackmore, Jake Konrad, Al Hiebert, Loretta Bell-Hardy, Darryl Auten and John Phillips.  acc. M. Close.

Dec 1st 8pm and Dec 2nd 2 pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon – The Spirit Rejoices – Charpentier, Verdi, Raminsh, Saint Saens and Christmas carols. Soloists: Debbie Parmenter, Robyn Thornton, Monika Adler, Maureen Barrat, Krista Blackmore, John Phillips, Jake Konrad and Peter Springer.

Dec 2nd evening – Rotary Carol Festival

2002    May 4th 8 pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon, May 5th 2pm – First United Church, Salmon Arm, 7:30pm – The Red Barn, Sicamous – A River of Song, Verdi, Bach B Minor Mass, Raminsh Missa Brevis, folk and pop songs, Samuel Barber and Aaron Copeland. Soloists: Debbie Parmenter, Maureen Barrat, Frida Paetsch, Jake Konrad, Hugh Carter, with Krista Blackmore on flute and Sylvia Herchen on French horn.  acc. M. Close.

Nov 30th 8 pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon, Dec 1st 2 pm – Creekside Theatre, Winfield – A New World Beginnin’Gloria by Bach, Mozart and Puccini, songs by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Mahler and Rossini and Christmas carols. Soloists: Debbie Parmenter, Krista Blackmore, Peter Lawson, Jake Konrad and Barbara Angel.

Dec 2nd – Rotary Carol Festival

2003    May 3rd 8 pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon, May 4th 2pm – First United Church, Salmon Arm – A Haydn CelebrationSeven Last Words of the Saviour on the Cross with a string quartet, Sarah Anderson, Carole Ruth, Susanne Elizabeth and Morna Howie, Mass in a Time of War with soloists Debbie Parmenter, Barbara Heckrodt, Maureen Barrat, Krista Blackmore, Darryl Auten, Peter Lawson, Wayne Close, Michael O’Reilly, Leo Carpay and Mike Gentles.  Accompanist:  Marjorie Close.

May 10th 7:30 pmThree Choirs Festival at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre –AURA Chamber Choir, Scott Singers and Vernon Community Singers.  AURA performed Dona Nobis Pacem from Bach B Minor Mass, Balm in Gilead, Wanderin’ Star, and six massed choir pieces

 Nov 30th 7pm – Rotary Carol Festival

Dec 6th 8pm, Dec 7th 2pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon – There Shall A Star Shine Forth – 25 years of Christmas favourites plus two from Raminsh Magnificat.

2004    March 7th 7pmShowcase of Choirs – Trinity Baptist Church, Kelowna – three selections from Bach B Minor Mass plus massed choir performances

May 8th 7:30pm – Trinity United, Vernon, May 9th 7:30pm –  First United Church, Salmon Arm – Bach  B Minor Mass – Soloists: Melanie Krueger (sop), Alexandra Liebich-Tait (sop), Lynne McMurtry (contralto), John Bacon (tenor), and Chad Louwerse (bass-baritone) plus orchestra.  Grant from Koerner Foundation – 25th Anniversary of AURA, and Imant’s 60th birthday.

Dec 4th 8pm, Dec 5th 2pmPastime With Good Company, with Early Music Band (Cuyler Page, Evan Plommer, Elizabeth Knox, Jane Phillips, Carole Ruth) – Britten, Elizabethan Consort Music, Widmann, Hassler, Monteverdi, Banchieri, Henry VIII, motets and carols. Soloists: Celia Brownrigg, Jenn Britton and Debbie Parmenter.  acc. M. Close.

2005    April 30th 7:30pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon, May 1st 2pm – Ukrainian Catholic Church, Kelowna – Rachmaninoff Vespers – AURA was joined by seven members of Chor Leoni and special guests performing other works by Rachmaninoff:  Lisa Raminsh (piano and clarinet, accompanied on piano by Imant Raminsh), Katya Toopitsin (sop), accompanied on piano by Marjorie Close, and pianists Marina Durham, and Joel Goodfellow

May 8th 7:30pm – Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre – Three Choirs Festival, A Tribute to Elizabeth Scott, featuring AURA, Scott Singer Choirs and Vernon Community Singers.  AURA sang two selections from Rachmaninoff Vespers and Put Vejini arranged by Raminsh.  Massed choir sang We Rise Again and Here’s to Song

Oct 8th – Hospice House Benefit – (rescheduled to October 7, 2007)

Dec 2nd 7:30pm – First United Church, Kelowna, Dec 3rd 2pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon – Songs of the Lights – Bach, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Byrd, Raminsh Magnificat, 20th Century Canadian and US music. Soloists: Nancy Wageman, Peter Lawson, Al Hiebert, Jenn Britton, Debbie Parmenter, Lynn Hadfield and Loretta Bell-Hardy,with Jenn Britton on glockenspiel & Lynn Hadfield on flute. acc. M. Close.

2006    March 13th – Some members of AURA together with Counterpoint, Richmond Chorus, Kamloops Choristers and Cantabile Singers, plus a high school choir from New Jersey performed Raminsh Magnificat, and Missa Brevis, at Carnegie Hall, New York. On this special occasion T-shirts and sweatshirts were ordered for AURA members.

March 26th  7:30pm – Trinity United Church, Vernon – Mozart 250 in celebration of Mozart’s 250th birthday – Excerpts from Grand Mass in C Minor K247, three motets, choruses from Cosi fan Tutte, choruses from The Magic Flute – Soloists: Heather McVie-Gaunt, Debbie Parmenter, Jenn Britton, Laurie Anne Lorge; arias from Don Giovanni and Il Re pastore – Soloist: Heather McVie-Gaunt.  Accompanist:  Marjorie Close.  The Youth Symphony of the Okanagan performed the first movement of Mozart’s Symphony No.31 in D and his overture to The Magic Flute.

Dec 2nd 8pm, Dec 3rd 2pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon – Navidad Nuestra (Ramirez), 16th century music, together with Latin American carols and lullabies. Guest soloist:  Fabiana Katz, together with soloists from AURA – Peter Lawson, Glen Goerzen, John Powell and Leo Carpay.  acc. M. Close.

2007    May 5th 7:30pm – Kelowna Community Theatre, May 6th 7:30pm – Vernon Performing Arts Centre – Israel in Egypt by Handel with the Okanagan Festival Singers and Alumni and the Okanagan Festival Orchestra, conducted by Leroy Wiens, concert master Nancy DiNovo.  Soloists: Dawn Mussellam (sop), Kathryn Lockhart (mezzo), Robert King (tenor).  This was the 20th Anniversary of OFS – their season grand finale.

Oct 11th Hospice Benefit Concert – AURA contributed 30 mins of singing and joined other choirs for Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

Dec 9th 2pm – First United Church, Kelowna, 7:30pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon – Cantiques de Noel – Charpentier, Berlioz, Gounod, Saint Saens and French Christmas carols.  French Canadian fiddle tunes were performed by Susan Aylard with Cats and the Fiddle.  Accompanist: M. Close

Dec     – Rotary Carol Festival at Vernon Performing Arts Centre

2008    April 26th 7:30pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon – Songs of All Seasons. Each season was introduced by the corresponding movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons played by Angela Ruthven on violin and Joel Goodfellow on cello. Amy Friedman played violin, Frida Paetsch second piano and Harriet Foltinek and Susan Whyte were featured on French horns. Soloists: Debbie Parmenter, Frank van Thienen, Diana Bainbridge, Dianne Smith, David Friedman and Glen Goerzen.  Accompanist: Marjorie Close

May 9th-11th – Chorfest at UBC, Vancouver, with a workshop by Imant Raminsh on his choral works.  Concert at the Chan Centre at 2:30 pm.

Dec 16th 7:30 pm – Trinity United Church, Vernon – AURA’s 30th AnniversaryChristmas Oratorio by J. S. Bach; soloists: Lilli Wunscher (sop), Lynne McMurtry (mezzo sop), William George (tenor) and Randall Jakobsh (bass).

2009    May 2nd 7:30pm – Trinity United Church, Vernon – AURA’s 30th Anniversary Concert – Music by Imant Raminsh, including the premiere of two of his Symphony of Psalms, No’s 2 and 5. Soloists: Erica Northcott (guest sop), Gloria Brooks (sop) and Glen Goerzen (tenor), accompanied by Marjorie Close on organ and a twenty piece instrumental ensemble.

Nov 28th 7:30pm and Nov 29th 2pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon – Lauda! An Italian Christmas – Vivaldi’s Gloria, Pergolesi Magnificat and Respighi Lauda per la Nativita del Signore and other Italian works. Soloists: Gloria Brooks, Jenn Britton, Glen Goerzen, Krista Blackmore, Terry Logan, Peter Lawson, Frank van Thienen and Kathleen Elliman.  acc. M. Close.

Dec 6th 7pm – Vernon PAC – Rotary Carol Festival

2010    Jan. 26th – Polson Park – Olympic Torch Ceremony – with a performance of The Flame a commission of Imant’s.

Feb 20th – Vernon Recreation Centre – A Grand Night for Singing – Cabaret – sold out 250 tickets.  MC Christine Pilgrim – Broadway, Canadian, Water, Old American, Jazz plus Chorealis and various solo-group acts.  acc. M. Close.

May – One of Imant’s works in conjunction with a Kelowna dance company – cancelled due to illness of one of the dancers.

Nov 27th 7:30pm and Nov 28th 2pm – All Saints Anglican – An AURA Christmas conducted by Terry Logan – Gabrieli O Magnum Mysterium, Byrd Ave Verum, Pergolesi Alleluia, three songs by John Rutter, Stephen Chatman’s Dryads’ Bells, Greg Jasperse O How Beautiful and excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.  Guest soloists: Hannah Gomme, Jennae Van Gameren, Thea Waldon, with Natalie Stoney on cello, Glen Goerzen on bass, Ann Dorval and Andy Brodie on flute.  acc. M. Close.

Dec 4th 7 pm – Vernon PAC – Rotary Carol Festival – Rutter and Handel

2011    May 14th 7:30pm, May 15th 2pm – All Saints Anglican, Vernon – Under the Eastern Sun – Kodaly, Part, Gorecki, Stivrina, Tamulionis, Vasks, Tormis, Rautavaara, Page, Bartok, Seiber and Raminsh. Soloists: Maureen Evans, Glen Goerzen, Frank van Thienen, Edith Brenner and Dianne Smith.  Accompanist:  M. Close

Nov 26th 7:30pm, Nov 27th 2pm – All Saints Anglican – Gloria! – Bach, Beethoven, Palestrina, Poulenc, Puccini and Raminsh. Soloists: Carmen Harris, Glen Goerzen, Terry Logan, Peter Lawson, Jenn Britton, Krista Blackmore, Wayne Close and Andy Brodie on flute.  acc. M. Close.

Dec 3rd 7:30pm – First Lutheran Church, Kelowna – Sing Along Messiah with Okanagan Festival Singers conducted by Leroy Wiens.  Also featured were young soloists, Musaic Vocal Ensemble and other musicians

2012    April 28th 7:30pm, April 29th 2pm – All Saints Anglican – Passion and Praise –Bach St Matthew Passion with soloists Terry Logan, Carmen Harris, Quinn Bates, Glen and Don Goerzen, and Handel Dettingen Te Deum, conducted by Terry Logan.  Soloists:  Carmen Harris, Krista Close Blackmore, Glen and Don Goerzen, with Marjorie Close on organ.  Trumpets – Rosalyn MacGregor and Ron Spor, flutists Lisa Kilgour and Laurel Sale-Hook, cello – Bill Boyd, violin – Amy Friedman, viola – Hana Friedman

Nov 23rd 7:30 pm, Nov 24th 2 p.m. – All Saints Anglican – Wolcum Yole – Benjamin Britten A Ceremony of Carols with soloists Terry Logan and Sidney Cummings and Camille Saint Saens Christmas Oratorio with soloists Terry Logan, Barbara Angel, Diana Bainbridge, Krista Blackmore, Peter Lawson and Glen Goerzen.  Terry Logan also conducted two choruses from Handel’s Messiah, Morten Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium, and the female members in Eleanor Daley Ave Maria.  acc. M. Close.

Dec 9th 2 pm – All Saints Anglican – Singalong Messiah with soloists Glen Goerzen, Quinn Bates, Reid Gomme, Miya Doige, Sidney Cummings, Griffin Victor, Hannah Gomme and Jenae Van Gameren. Members of other choirs and the general public were invited to sing with AURA.  Terry Logan conducted, with accompaniment by Marjorie Close on organ and Terry Logan on piano, as well as Al Szeliga on trumpet.

2013    April 13th 7:30 pm, April 14th 2 pm – All Saints Anglican – Lux EternaRequiems by Gabriel Fauré and Maurice Duruflé. Soloists: Miya Doige, Don Goerzen, and Mia Harris. Accompaniment by Marjorie Close on organ, Terry Logan on piano, and George Kiraly on cello.

Nov 2nd 7:30 pm – Vernon Recreation Centre – Novemberfest, a Cabaret featuring AURA Chamber Choir and Ancora Women’s Ensemble, conducted by Terry Logan and accompanied by Marjorie Close and Jim Johnson. Glen Goerzen on guitar and Andy Brodie on flute presented 3 pieces composed by Glen Goerzen. A quartet of AURA men sang Glen Goerzen’s arrangement of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold. David and Jo Jones were Masters of Ceremony. There were two intermissions with finger foods available and a silent auction.

2014   March 8th 7:30pm – First Lutheran Church, Kelowna. Aura participated in the Cascade of Choirs presented by the Okanagan Choral Society. Conducted by Terry Logan and accompanied by Marjorie Close, Aura presented In my Life by Lennon & McCartney, arr. Jasperse, O Magnum Mysterium, music by Morten Lauridsen and Gloria, Grand Mass in C-. by WA Mozart/Robert Levin.

April 12th 7:30 pm – Trinity United Church – Grand Mass in C minor by W.A.Mozart, completed by Robert D. Levin, together with members of Vivace Chorale from Kamloops. Soloists: Stephanie Nakagawa, soprano, Mia Harris, soprano, Tomas Bijok, Tenor, and Alan Corbishley, bass. The Mass was accompanied by a 25 piece professional orchestra and Marjorie Close on organ. The Mass was again presented April 17th at Calvary Community Church in Kamloops with a non-professional orchestra. The production of this work was in celebration of Aura Chamber Choir’s 35th anniversary.

November 28th 7:30pm & November 29th 2:00pm– All Saints Anglican Church- Alleluia. A program of four Alleluia’s by Randall Thompson, Imant Raminsh, Kelowna’s Sandra Wilmot and Beethoven framed seasonal American, Canadian and European carols including Poulenc’s Motets for the Season of Christmas and compositions by Vancouver composers Ramona Luengen ( O Magnum Mysterium) and Steven Smith (If You Would Hear the Angels Sing). Vocal soloists were Kelsi Clarke, Frida Paetsch and Glen Goerzen and on flutes, Krista Blackmore and Andy Brodie.  Marjorie Close accompanied on the piano.

2015, May 17th 2:00 pm – Vernon Performing Arts Centre – Chorfestivity! Singers from choirs around B.C. came together to form three choirs: a children’s Choir conducted by Sarona Mynhardt and accompanied by Jennifer Britton, with drums by Jabulani and cello soloist Holly McCallum; a Youth Choir conducted by Jon Washburn; and an Adult Choir conducted by Rosemary Thomson and accompanied by Carol Colpitts, with soprano soloist Andrea Roberts and guitar soloist Glen Goerzen. The concert ended with two Massed Choir numbers: Put Vejini arr. Imant Raminsh and conducted by Rosemary Thomson, and Amavolovolo by Rudolf de Beer, conducted by Sarona Mynhardt with drums by Jabulani.

2016, March 12th 7:30 pm and March 13th 2:00 pm – All Saints Anglican Church, Vernon – Evening. The short first half of the programme was comprised of songs with themes of nature by Hugo Alfven (Swedish), Felix Mendelssohn (German) and Antonin Dvorak (Czech.), all contemporaries of Johannes Brahms, whose Ein Deutsches Requiem was the featured work after intermission. Soloists: Mark Wells, baritone, and Mia Harris, mezzo-soprano. All these choral works were sung in the languages in which they were written. Imant Raminsh conducted, with Marjorie Close on the piano and James Leonard on the pipe organ.

2017, March 25th 7:30 pm and March 26th 2:00pm –All Saints Anglican Church, Vernon – The Promise of Living – a program of 20th century music. All Night Vigil, No.’s 1,2,3,5,6 and 7 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943); Dona Nobis Pacem by R. Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), conducted by Jaclyn Riemer, with soprano soloist, Andrea Roberts; Symphony of Psalms, Third Movement, by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971); Chichester Psalms, by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), with Treble solo by Amelia Hudson; four American Spirituals set by Michael Tippett (1908-1998) as incorporated into his oratorio A Child of our Time, featuring soloists Andrea Roberts, soprano, Glen Goerzen, tenor and Al Hiebert, baritone, and conducted by Jaclyn Riemer; Basket by Cecil Effinger (1914-1990), featuring Andrew Brodie on Flute; two songs from Catulli Carmina (Odie et ama, and Eis aiona) by Carl Orff (1895-1982); Soldier’s Song from The Lark by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990); and two songs from The Tender Land, and opera by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) – Stomp Your Foot and The Promise of Living. Except where otherwise indicated, Director Imant Raminsh conducted. Marjorie Close accompanied the Choir on piano.

2017, November 18th 7:30 pm and November 19th 1:30 pm – All Saints Anglican church, Vernon – Welcome to All the Pleasures – an eclectic program presented by guest conductors, Tami Harker and Terry Pitt-Brooke, with accompanist Marjorie Close. Welcome to all the Pleasures by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) with various Aura soloists and accompanied by Orchestra Nova led by Carole Ruth. Erev Shel Shoshanim by Yosef Hadar (1926-2006); Northern Lights by Ola Gjeilo (1978-); Madrigal by Gabriel Faure (1845-1924); Hark all Ye Lovely Saints Above by Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623); The Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre (1970-); Magnificat by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) accompanied by Orchestra Nova and featuring soloists Jay Laflamme & Angela Ashton, Laurie Anne Lorge, Glen Goerzen, Marinna Harker & Courtney Shaver; The Heavens are Telling by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) with soloists Jay Laflamme, Gen Goerzen, Thomas Brighouse & Al Hiebert; Ave Maria by Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611); Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Faure (1845-1924); Soon Ah Will be Done by William Dawson (1899-1990).

2018, April 21st 7:30 pm and April 22nd 2:00 pm – Peace Lutheran Church, Vernon – The Peace of Wild Things – a program of songs composed or arranged by Imant Raminsh, conducted by Imant Raminsh and accompanied by Marjorie Close.
I Will Sing unto the Lord; Ave Verum Corpus; Ubi Caritas; Adonai Roi lo Ehear, Andrea Roberts soprano soloist; Missa Brevis in c minor – Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus – Benedictus. Agnus Dei, Andrea Roberts soprano soloist with Akane Setiawan on oboe. Intermission.
The Great Sea, with Courtney Shaver and Marinna Harker on violin, Paul Harker on viola and David Harker on cello; The Peace of Wild Things; Nootka Paddle Song, Glen Goertzen baritone; Bye, Bye Baby arr. by Imant Raminsh with Andrea Roberts, soprano; Put, Vejini arr. by Imant Raminsh with Andrea Roberts, Courney Shaver and Marinna Harker, sopranos.

2018, November 17 & 18. All Saints Anglican Church…. Moving Between Light & Darkness- Tami Harker’s first full concert as our new Music Director, accompanied by Marjorie Close and featuring the Harker String Quartet.

The program included Palestrina’s Videntes Stellum, Scubert’s Mass in G with soloists Courtney Harker, Diana Bainbridge, Glenn Goerzen & Al Hiebert, Ave Maris Stella by Dufay, Gloria by Lotti also featuring soloists Diana Bainbridge, Courtney Harker and Glen Goertzen, and Gjeilo’s Ave Generosa with Soprano, Marrina Harker.

The second half included three French songs by le Petit, Passerau and Certon, Brahm’s Waldesnacht, Gjeilo’s The Rose, Oh How Beautiful This Finely Woven Earth by Jasperse and concluding with Eric Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs featuring soloists Courtney Harker and Laurie-Anne Lorge.

2019, April 27 at Trinity United Church in Vernon and April 28 at Kamloops Full Gospel Tabernacle in Kamloops- AURA’s 40th Anniversary performance of Bach’s Mass in B- Minor with professional Orchestra, conducted by Imant Raminsh in Vernon and Cvetozar Vutev in Kamloops.

Soloists for both performances were Sopranos Stephanie Nakagawa and Andrea Roberts, Contralto Lynne McMurtry, Tenor Rod Simmons and Baritone Andrew Greenwood.

This was Imant’s final performance as Director and was a very successful tribute to his 4o years as our conductor.

2019, November 9/10 at All Saints Anglican Church in Vernon. Conducted by Tami Harker, accompanied by Marjorie Close. The program, on the themes of remembrance and hope, included works by Daley, Patriquin, Holst, Chapman, Jasperse, Willan, Lauridsen, Vivaldi, Mozart and Imant Raminsh’s A Shining Peace.

Spring 2020 through Fall 2021. Rehearsals and programs through this period were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One piece, The Rose by Ola Geillo was digitally recorded remotely in March 2021 and posted on our website.

2022, April 23/24 at ….. Details to follow.

2022, December 3/4 at All Saints Anglican Church in Vernon. Conducted by Dr. Terry Pitt-Brooke, accompanied by Marjorie Close and featuring guest chamber players Cuyler Page, Karen Gibbons, Anjuli Dynna, Bruce McFarlane, Richard Creel, Carole Ruth, Susanne Zeindler and Laura McPheeters. The theme on carols ancient and modern included works by Franck, Poulenc, Le Jeune, Dufay, Costelley, Stetsenko and Berlioz. Charpentier’s Messe de minuit pour Noel completed the program.

2023, April 15/16 at Peace Lutheran Church in Vernon. Conducted by Dr. Terry Pitt-Brooke and accompanied by Marjorie Close. On the theme of love and springtime, Songs of Nature included works by Haydn, Hindemith, Faure, Palestrina, Dvorak,  Stetsenko, Le Jeune and Imant Raminsh’s The Peace of Wild Things. The choir’s own Diana Bainbridge, Laurie Anne Lorge and Glen Goerzen treated us to The Nightingale by Weelkes and As Fair as Morn by Wilbye. The program concluded with Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer accompanied by Marjorie Close and Terry Logan on four hand piano and our very fine soloists Heather Harker and Haley Porter, soprano, Jaxon Jensen, tenor and Kristopher Koenig, baritone.

Compiled by Robyn Thornton, Kathleen Elliman, Maureen Evans, Wayne & Marjorie Close

Last update April 2023

Send corrections or updates to Wayne Close – pclose@junction.net


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