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About Island Bel Canto Singers

Together since 1997, Island Bel Canto Singers is one of Nanaimo’s most respected women’s community choirs. We love to laugh, we share friendships and enjoy each other’s company, and most of all, we love to sing!

Our choral repertoire is diverse, from early classics to contemporary music, world music and musical theatre, all in a variety of languages. We sing both accompanied and a cappella, and mainly in three-part harmony.

We produce a concert at Christmas and in May each year, at which guest musicians from around the Island are regularly featured. We also perform at community events throughout the year, and network with other choirs to enrich and extend the choral tradition in Nanaimo and surrounding area.

We invite you to check out our website to find out what we’re all about. Better yet, come to our concerts to see and hear for yourself!

Click on the following topics to find out more!

Our history

It all started in August 1997, when 17 women responded to a local ad for singers in a new women’s choir. Their spirit of teamwork, coupled the inspired leadership of their director Irene Thompson, saw the choir grow in both size and popularity over the next 3 years.

In early 2002, Christine McMahon took over the director’s position, and the choir continued to flourish. In addition to our traditional annual Christmas and Spring concerts during Christine’s tenure, the choir participated in the Mid-Island Music Festivals in Duncan.

Lionel Tanod became the choir’s next Artistic Director in 2005. He expanded the choir’s repertoire and built connections with many other musical groups in the community. He was a key figure, along with a number of choir members, in the creation of Nanaimo Sings!, an organization that brings together choirs within the Nanaimo area for multi-choir festivals and workshops. Lionel was also instrumental in the choir’s participation at International Choral Kathaumixw XV in 2012, where he found the inspiration for creating our chamber ensemble.

The next phase of the choir’s evolution began January 2014, when Sharon Sinclair stepped up to the podium as the choir’s Artistic Director, after being our accompanist for 11 years.

Throughout the years, the choir continues to thrive as a result of everyone’s commitment to teamwork and choral excellence. This is, beyond a doubt, a group of women who truly love to sing and have fun together!

About our Artistic Director
Sharon Sinclair

Sharon Sinclair is an amazing multi-talented musician and is well known and highly respected in the Nanaimo music community.

She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria where she majored in piano studies, with a secondary focus on choral music education. For over 20 years, Sharon taught high school choir, as well as musical theatre and elementary school music, in the Nanaimo School District.

In 2006, she became the founder and director of Sinclair Singers, an award-winning chamber choir for youth and young adults. Sharon also has a thriving private music studio where she enjoys teaching piano and voice to students of all ages. She is a gifted soprano and currently sings with The Island Consort Chamber Choir. In her spare time, she loves to play her Celtic harp.

About our accompanist
Pat Rustand

Pat Rustand became the choir's accompanist in March 2014. Recently retired from a 30+ year career in teaching, Pat has been the accompanist for the Catholic choir at Nanaimo Ecumenical Centre for more than a decade. She has periodically taught music and often accompanied school choirs both in Burnaby and Nanaimo.

About our music

Listen to the following mp3 recordings from our concerts to get a sense of what we sing:

These files require QuickTime Player.