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Vancouver Thunderbird Chorus stages 70th anniversary concert

It's two years late, but the chorus is planning a big splash — including some international guest stars.

It’s been a long time coming, but the Vancouver Thunderbird Chorus is finally celebrating its 70th anniversary — ish.

The chorus is taking to the Massey Theatre stage for what it’s dubbed A 70-ish Anniversary Concert, set for Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m.

The chorus was founded in 1950 and had intended to celebrate the seven-decade mark two years ago, until the COVID-19 pandemic intervened.

The chorus plans to make up for lost time by bringing in local and international guest performers.

They’ll be joined by the locally based Lions Gate Chorus and the Second Inversion Quartet, plus the Swedish a cappella quartet Ringmasters, the 2012 barbershop world champions.

With those groups, plus the addition of Thunderbirds past, the chorus expects up to 150 voices onstage for the evening’s finale.

Local audiences may already be familiar with the Thunderbird Chorus, which has made a name for itself with annual shows and a variety of high-profile appearances — including at the Kitsilano Showboat, the Haywood Bandstand at English Bay and in Robson Square during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

They’ve also performed at various Car Free Days with their “Strike a Chord” challenge and have introduced countless Metro Vancouver singers to the world of harmony through their free learn-to-sing program.

Even a global viral pandemic couldn’t stop the chorus.  The group rose to the COVID challenge by continuing rehearsals and meetings over Zoom and through a unique “Carbershop” parking lot series — where singers rehearsed in their own cars, connected via microphones, a sound board and an FM transmitter.

Musical director Dave Vincent leads the choir in unaccompanied, close-harmony music arranged mainly in barbershop style, with repertoire encompassing swing, gospel and modern music.

Catch the Vancouver Thunderbird Chorus in New Westminster

  • What: Vancouver Thunderbird Chorus – A 70-ish Anniversary Concert
  • Where: Massey Theatre, 735 Eighth Ave., New Westminster
  • When: Saturday, June 11, 7:30 p.m.
  • Tickets: $27 to $36, buy online 
  • Information: Check out the Vancouver Thunderbird Chorus website or call 604-764-2421.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, [email protected].