Arts and Entertainment

Chorale offers soaring songs of the season

Gary D. Cannon conducts Vashon Island Chorale in a concert appearance at Bethel Church. - Rick Wallace Photo
Gary D. Cannon conducts Vashon Island Chorale in a concert appearance at Bethel Church.
— image credit: Rick Wallace Photo

This weekend, the 80-voice-strong Vashon Island Chorale will present “Dona Nobis Pacem — Grant Us Peace,” a concert featuring an uplifting holiday repertoire and the world premiere of two selections of composer’s Abraham Kaplan’s “Eight Days of Chanukah.”

Gary D. Cannon, the chorale’s artistic director, said he is excited to conduct Kaplan’s piece.

“Abe was my primary conducting professor during graduate school at the University of Washington, and yet this is only the second time I have conducted his work in a performance,” Cannon said. “His music is always a joy to hear, with rhythmic jauntiness, memorable melodies, pleasing harmonies and an intangible sense of freshness and honesty.”

Tenor Jim Gilmour will solo in the piece, and Kaplan will attend the chorale’s Sunday performance.

The concert will also feature notable works performed by talented soloists and musicians, led by concert mistress Karin Choo.

Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ masterwork, “Dona Nobis Pacem,” will boast solos by Vashon Opera stars Jennifer and Andrew Krikawa, and accompaniment by the acclaimed Signature Brass Quartet.

Most of “Dona Nobis Pacem” was composed in the years before World War II and incorporates three poems by Walt Whitman.  One large section of the cantata, the “Dirge for Two Veterans,” dates from the time of the First World War.

“The central message is a plea for peace amid politically uncertain times,” Cannon said.

Other concert soloists include Shannon Flora, Kim Farrell and Joe Farmer, who will perform as a trio during “Ave Maria,” by Franz Biebl.

“‘Ave Maria’ is a miniature masterwork, one of the few modern pieces of music — it was written in 1964 — to have gained a firm hold in the standard choral repertoire,”


Vashon Island Chorale will perform its holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, at Bethel Church. Tickets cost $12.50 and $10 and are on sale at the Vashon Bookshop, the Blue Heron and at


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