The Valley Festival Singers present concerts in Abbotsford on April 28 and 29. (Paul Funk photo)

The Valley Festival Singers present concerts in Abbotsford on April 28 and 29. (Paul Funk photo)

Valley Festival Singers present two concerts in Abbotsford

Performances on April 28 and 29 at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium

The Valley Festival Singers present their spring concert, Songs and Sonnets: Music Inspired by the Bard (William Shakespeare), on April 28 and 29.

Both concerts begin at 7 p.m. at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way.

The Valley Festival Singers is a 40-voice mixed ensemble that has been a part of Abbotsford’s musical community for over 40 years.

Under the new direction of Dr. Joel Tranquilla, the choir presents its final program of the 2016-2017 season.

In addition to his work with the Valley Festival Singers, Tranquilla is also the director of choral activities at Trinity Western University and the conductor of the Coastal Sound Youth Choir in Coquitlam.

All of the songs that have been chosen for the program are either settings of Shakespeare texts or come from larger works that are based on Shakespeare plays.

This second category of music includes the hit Broadway songs Maria from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (based on Romeo and Juliet); Wunderbar from Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate (in which the characters themselves are putting on a production of The Taming of the Shrew); and Sing for Your Supper from Richard Rodgers’ The Boys from Syracuse (based on The Comedy of Errors).

In addition to these lighter selections, audiences can expect to hear more traditional classical repertoire by Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Vaughan Williams as well as several contemporary jazz-infused numbers by George Shearing, Cecilia McDowell, and William Todd.

Canadian composers Jeff Enns and Sarah Quartel have written particularly beautiful songs with Shakespearean lyrics and these new works will round out the program.

The Valley Festival Singers are accompanied on the piano by Dr. Betty Suderman and will be joined for the program by violinist Calvin Dyck.

In addition to playing several works with the choir, Suderman and Dyck will perform a suite of movements by Sergei Prokofiev based on the story of Romeo and Juliet.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for students and free for kids 10 and younger.

They are available at House of James, online at valleyfestivalsingers.com or from choir members.