The chorus rehearses for Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance.

Talents run in the family in Pirate cast

Opera troupe brings Gilbert & Sullivan to life

The newly formed Chilliwack Opera Troupe, boasting more than 70 members including singers, musicians, crew and volunteers, is flourishing artistically and is ready to present their inaugural performance.

The Pirates of Penzance opens on  Aug. 18 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. The show is beaming with rich talent from Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley.

Incidentally, there is a unique family dynamic to this group which is very appealing. Paula DeWiitt-Krause along with her two sons, Bevin and Logan van Liempt, are just one of the many family dynamics with in the group. Bevin, the co-founder, is also playing a lead role as the seargent of police. Logan is in the chorus and plays the role of pirate in the first half and police in the second half.

Brothers Lyndon and Forrest Schuster drive into each rehearsal from Abbotsford. They are both in the chorus of police, and this is the teens’ first production.

The Andrews family are a musical family. Kevin Andrews, a local flutist and percussionist is going to be playing in the orchestra. Wife Deborah co-produces the show and their two very beautiful and talented daughters Jessica, chorus, and Becka, assistant stage manager, are loving the chance to work together as a family.

Husband and wife Laura and Shaun Purves are both members of the chorus. After Laura successfully auditioned for the show she had no difficulty at all recruiting her husband Shaun when he heard of this opportunity to wear the policeman’s uniform.

James McGroarty, no stranger to Gilbert and Sullivan, accepted the offer to direct this production and brought with him his lovely talented daughter Kathleen to the auditions. She won the role of Edith. Seasoned and experienced daughter Pauline came on board as a co-choreographer. Barb Neeve is enjoying her first G&S show in the chorus of daughters and her son is busy helping making sets.

“The group is such a pleasure to work with,” says Music Director Paula DeWitt-Krause. “We have a husband and wife in the orchestra as well. Professional flutist Bernard Blary and his french-horn playing wife drive in loyally from Vancouver for each rehearsal. The whole group feels like my family and I often tease that I want to adopt them all and take them home with me.”

The show runs Aug. 18-21 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the CCC; $30 for Dress Circle, $25 for Orchestra and $20 for General. There are also two-for-one previews on Aug. 16 and 17, with a matinee on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m.

For more information, visit www.chilliwackoperatroupe.com.