Malaspina Choir presents Brahms Requiem


Malaspina Choir and the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Lionel Tanod

Date: Friday, May 3, 2019

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Venue: St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 301 Machleary St, Nanaimo, BC V9R 2G8


When Brahms gave Clara Schumann a present of his German Requiem for Christmas in 1867, she responded that it was “a truly tremendous piece of art which moves the entire being in a way little else does.”

Its premiere a year later was attended by more than 2500 people. The work made a profound impact and its theme of comfort and consolation in the face of death continues to resonate with audiences today. Dedicated to his mother, who had died two years before, and Robert Schumann, Clara’s late husband and Brahms’s mentor, the composer deliberately chose to ignore the standard requiem text with its focus on judgement. Brahms himself referred to it as a “human requiem.” It is this sympathetic focus that has made it what New York Times music critic James R. Oestrich calls “an anthem for our time.”

The Malaspina Choir will perform this gently lyrical work with the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Lionel Tanod Friday, May 3rd, 7:30 pm, with soloists Betty Allison, soprano, and Michael MacKinnon, bass, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 301 Machleary St.

This is the Malaspina Choir’s 49th season of bringing the best of classical and contemporary choral masterworks to Nanaimo audiences. Malaspina Choir thrives on being part of a cultural tradition and being challenged. Our versatility, professionalism, and pride in performance make every concert an event to experience.

Tickets: Adults $20, Under 25 $10, eyeGO $5, under 12 free

Port Theatre Box Office 250-754-8550,, from choir members and at the door



Betty AllisonBetty Allison (soprano) Canadian soprano, Betty Waynne Allison, “combines it all — voice, acting ability, presence and beauty — in one highly impressive package” (Toronto Sun). A graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble, major credits to her name include the world premiere of Mary’s Wedding with Pacific Opera Victoria, the title role in Floyd’s Susannah with Florentine Opera, Alice in Verdi’s Falstaff with L’Opèra Thèâtre de Metz Mètropole, and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Edmonton Opera.

Betty has performed a varied repertoire, demonstrating her natural ability and talent, from the Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), to Vixen (Cunning Little Vixen) and Elizabeth I (Glorina). She is equally comfortable on the concert stage, with her rich and florid interpretation of pieces such as Mahler’s Symphony VIII, Brahms’ Requiem, and Gubaidulia’s Galgenlieder À 3.

Teaching music has always been Betty’s passion and calling. Over the course of her performance career, she has continued to teach privately and remain involved in music education. Since receiving her bachelor’s degrees in education and music from the University of Victoria, she has gone on to teach voice at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) and Western University (London, ON) and is currently on faculty at Wendy Nielsen’s Vocal Techniques Workshop in New Brunswick.

Betty is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, focusing her research on the connection between vocal production and a singer’s mental health. Her research explores non-musical stressors and the coping strategies that elite singers use to maintain their careers and voices.

For more information, please visit


Michael MacKinnon (Bass). Michael spent his youth in Scotland, drumming in many different bands, before realizing that singers got way more attention. Since 2008, he’s enjoyed singing opera professionally, both in Canada and Europe. Based in Vancouver since 2015, he is delighted to be returning to Nanaimo to sing with the Malaspina Choir. For more information visit: