Soul, gospel choir opens Willows summer series

Victoria Soul Gospel Choir performs at Willows Park Thursday, June 30

The Victoria Soul Gospel Choir

The Victoria Soul Gospel Choir

For the second consecutive season, the Summer Concert Series at Willows Park kicks off with the high-energy Victoria Soul Gospel Choir thanks to a donor.

Last year a service club covered costs for the first summer concert; this year Oak Bay resident Roberto Cecchini funded the first foray June 30 at the beach-front park. His reasons are threefold.

“I wanted to show my gratitude and appreciation for the beautiful community of Oak Bay that I live in. Then to the choir I sing with. It’s really such a wonderful experience,” he said. “My third interest was I was hoping that seeing me do something like this would inspire other Oak Bay residents to get involved with Oak Bay recreation in helping put together things.”

The dynamic Victoria Soul Gospel Choir delivers the sounds of Motown, R&B, gospel, and reggae in five-part harmony with choreography that inspires dance. The choir was well received as the first to perform as part of Recreation Oak Bay’s Summer Concert Series last year.

“I was hoping it would make people think ‘that’s doable, let’s see what I can get involved with.’ Plus I love to have fun,” Cecchini said. “It was a tremendous amount of fun, the mayor loved it, the thousand-odd people who attended all loved it. The town was very open to putting us into their schedule this year. We also really enjoyed it, the audience was great.”

The choir represents men and women of all ages, ethnicities and beliefs who simply love the joy of experiencing music together. The choir’s enthusiastic director, Checo Tohomaso, has performed with Marvin Gaye, Lionell Ritchie and the Commodores, and he brings that authentic Motown sound to their music.

“The choir is an amazing experience,” said Cecchini, now in his third year.

“I had never sung before and I want to encourage anybody who has thought about singing to come to one of our rehearsals. It’s uplifting to a degree you can’t imagine.”

Working with Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture was “wonderful,” he said, and they were open and receptive to the choir’s return.

“What a pleasure to collaborate with people who make things happen for Oak Bay … and to see how organized and supportive they are,” he said. “The idea is for everybody to pitch in to make summer here for everybody exciting and fantastic without having to think about going someplace else.

“Let’s make it really great right here. This is my little contribution.”

Visit for a taste of the music.

“This is the second year the concerts have happened and they have been very well received, particularly with turn out for the Victoria Soul Gospel Choir,” said Marlaina Buch, arts and culture programmer for Oak Bay.

“The line-up was chosen to support established as well as up-and-coming local talent who blend musical styles. Audiences can expect something different every time and a reason to get up and dance.”

Kristina Helene performs July 13, Fantan O’Brien performs July 27 and Impulse Response is on stage Aug. 10.

Concerts are 6:30 to 9 p.m. in Willows Park.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke council has sent a letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy calling for a province-wide ban on the use of rat poison. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke calls for ban on rat poison across B.C.

Letter of support follows similar move by City of North Vancouver

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria’ Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

A property at 1224 Richardson St. in Victoria is the subject of a rezoning application that seeks permission to build three low-rise buildings with 24 units, including four that would rent for below market rate. (Google Streetview)
Victoria development in Fairfield features subsidized housing element

Public hearings this Thursday (Jan. 28) for proposals on Richardson Street and Heywood Avenue

Victoria police are seeking a young woman suspected of spitting on a bus driver in October 2020. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VIDEO: Young woman sought after ‘spitting assault’ on Victoria bus driver

Suspect became irate after bus came to a sudden stop

Victoria police will be making numerous arrests throughout the day Jan. 27 as part of its #VicPDWarrantWednesday project. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: Victoria police’s #WarrantWednesday makes 11 arrests and counting

VicPD says arrests part of warrant enforcement project

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Most Read