Saturday, March 2, 2024 @ 7:30pm – 9:00pm (PST)
Ticket details

Free (donations encouraged)

An evening of Bach motets and intricate ensemble; immerse yourself in the brilliance of these Baroque gems.

Experience the masterful choral motets of Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by our octet of professional singers with continuo, and two additional singers for the heart of our program: Jesu, meine Freude. This will be an exciting concert to include works that are rarely performed in our small city! You will be sure to leave feeling inspired by these genius compositions brought to life by the singers of Octet Victoria.

More than 75% of the door donations from our concerts go to local Indigenous organizations such as Raven Trust Foundation and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

About Octet Victoria

Octet Victoria is an ensemble of eight professional singers, directed by Char Hodgkins. Spanning from early renaissance to modern works, Octet Victoria presents masterful choral music and explores the intricacies of small ensemble singing.

About Jennifer Turner, soprano

Jennifer Turner is a Victoria B.C. based soprano known for her expressive singing and powerful, ringing tone. A performer who sings with strong emotional intensity, Jennifer's warm and engaging presence has captivated audiences on the operatic and concert stages alike.

Jennifer is in demand as a concert soloist throughout Western Canada with engagements by Pacific Opera, Victoria Baroque, the Okanagan Festival Singers, the Victoria Philharmonic Choir, Opera Kelowna, Manitoba Underground Opera, the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, the Salt Spring Chamber Orchestra, and Choir, the Linden Singers, the Victoria Civic Orchestra and the Cowichan Consort. In 2018, Jennifer toured with Canadian baritone, Gino Quilico, along with collaborative pianist Robert Holliston for a lecture concert of opera excerpts representing historical Canadian singers.

Jennifer has performed with Pacific Opera Victoria in recital and on the main stage, making her solo debut in the role of Donna/Siren in Handel's Rinaldo. She has also sung in several productions as a chorus member. Jennifer received extensive operatic training through the Victoria Conservatory of Music Opera Studio including her role debut as Fiordiligi in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte under the stage direction of Glynis Leyshon and Maestro Giuseppe Pietraroia. She also performed the role of Countess in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with stage director Julie McIsaac and Maestro Timothy Vernon.

Jennifer has been generously supported by the British Columbia Arts Council through an Early Career Development Grant and Professional Development Grants. She was a 2020 recipient of an Early Music Vancouver Scholarship to study with baroque specialist Nancy Argenta. While completing her MA in Cultural Studies at Queens University, she received a prestigious SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship to study the disciplining effects of singing technique on the body. With her academic background, Jennifer has a strong curiosity for bringing critical perspectives into classical music. Moreover, Jennifer is interested in new music having performed avant-garde compositions and premiered works by Canadian composers.

Jennifer holds a M.Mus from the University of Manitoba where she studied with Tracy Dahl, and a Diploma in Music Performance from the Victoria Conservatory of Music where she studied with Ingrid Attrot and Nancy Argenta. Outside of the performance world, Jennifer is an enthusiastic tennis player, cat lover, and aspiring pianist and conductor.

About Felix Butterfield, tenor

Tenor Felix Butterfield began his singing in Vancouver, before joining Winchester Cathedral choir, UK, aged 9. Felix holds a degree in History from The University of Victoria. He enjoys bouldering and playing the piano when he is not rehearsing or performing with various choirs around town. Felix is enrolled in the Vocal Collegium program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and is excited for more solo work in the future.

About Gordon Simmons, tenor

Gordon Simmons is a tenor and theatre manager based in Victoria, BC, Canada.

About Nathan McDonald, bass

Commanding a repertoire spanning several centuries, from renaissance polyphony to modern opera, Nathan David McDonald, baritone, is often lauded for his vocal versatility. With a diverse musical background, including a degree in trumpet and seven years as a church Music Director, Nathan brings a wealth of experience and musicianship to his craft.

Active as an oratorio singer, Nathan has appeared with a variety of West Coast ensembles such as the Pacific Baroque Festival Orchestra, Victoria Philharmonic Choir, Cowichan Consort, and Vox Humana Chamber Choir. Recent highlights include Handel's Apollo e Dafne with Victoria Baroque led by Steven Divine; Bach's Magnificat with the Sooke Philharmonic and Victoria Choral Society; Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Okanagan Festival Singers; the World Premiere of two new pieces at a Poetry and Song gala by East Van Opera; and Jean-Joseph de Mondonville's Cantate Domino at the Pacific Baroque Festival.

Nathan has presented recitals in Canada and the United States, and has sung professionally in choirs on 4 continents. A veteran of youth-oriented choral projects, Nathan has sung several times with the National Youth Choir of Canada and World Youth Choir, as well as the Carnegie Hall Chamber Choir (New York, NY), Weimar Bach Cantata Academy (Weimar, Germany), JSB Ensemble (Stuttgart, Germany), and Academia Internacional Teatro del Lago (Chile).

Operatic highlights include Nathan's 2016 mainstage debut with Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) as Fiorello in Rossini's Barber of Seville; solo chorus in the POV's school touring production of Mary's Wedding by Andrew Macdonald; performing the role of Marcello (2018) and Papageno (2017) in POV's Living Opera in schools program; and singing the role of Marcello in Puccini's La Bohème at Edmonton's NUOVA festival. Other operatic roles include Il Conte (Le Nozze di Figaro – Mozart), Dandini (La Cenerentola – Rossini), Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte – Mozart), Marco (Gianni Schicchi – Puccini), Colas (Bastien und Bastienne – Mozart), and Mr. Gobineau (The Medium – Menotti).

Nathan is a member of the Voice Faculty at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the Canadian College of Performing Arts. He serves as Music Director/Kantor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Victoria, and is mentored by soprano, Nancy Argenta.

About Rowan McWilliams, bass

Bass vocalist Rowan McWilliams is an alumnus of the University of Victoria School of Music.

About David Stratkauskas, continuo

David Stratkauskas is a native of Vancouver, where he completed his MA in Music Theory at the University of British Columbia, working under the notable theorist, Dr. William Benjamin. During and after his university studies, he was active as an organist and choir director, collaborative pianist and accompanist (working with such choirs as the Surrey Children's Choir and the Vancouver Bach Children's Choir), a jazz pianist, and a conductor of new music, appearing in festivals such as Sonic Boom. In 2003, inspired by his particular love for organ and choral music, David moved to London, where he was organist at St. Michael's Battersea and St. Mary Stoke Newington. Several of his choristers from St. Michael's went on to organ and choral scholarships at Cambridge colleges. In London he also worked as a choral conductor of community and children’s choirs, a jazz pianist, and a teacher.

David returned to Canada in 2010 to take the position of Organist at the Church of Saint John the Divine, Victoria, where he has helped build a vibrant music programme with several choirs and a thriving Choral and Organ Scholarship programme, performing works from the sacred choral canon, alongside new music, such as works by Michael Finnissy, Jonathan Harvey, Tamsin Jones, and Kimberley Farris-Manning. David has directed the St John's Chamber Singers and the Victoria Baroque Players in numerous performances of great Baroque works, including several of Bach's cantatas and motets, Handel's Dixit Dominus, Durufle's Requiem, and Bach's St. John Passion. He has worked with the Victoria Children's Choir since 2011, as conductor of the intermediate-level Recital Choir for many years, and most recently, as Artistic Director and conductor of the Concert Choir and Youth Choir divisions.

As an organ recitalist, he has played concerts in Vancouver, London (UK), and Victoria, including as a featured performer in Organ Festival Canada Online in July 2020, and on the Summer Organ Series at Christ Church Cathedral, which featured pieces by Canadian composers Tony Genge and Jocelyn Morlock (the latter, Premonition, commissioned in 2012 for David by Hugh Davidson).

David is married to Soile Stratkauskas, a baroque flutist and the Artistic Director and founder of the Victoria Baroque.