Edwin Knight and Bonnie Ruttan (in costume) welcome members of Chamber Opera Chicago to Port Alberni on Wednesday, July 4. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Edwin Knight and Bonnie Ruttan (in costume) welcome members of Chamber Opera Chicago to Port Alberni on Wednesday, July 4. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Musical group from Chicago welcomed to Port Alberni

Jane Austen Festival kicks off on Thursday, July 5

A group of performers travelling all the way from Chicago celebrated the Fourth of July in Port Alberni.

Chamber Opera Chicago is visiting Port Alberni for the town’s annual Jane Austen Festival. The group was welcomed to town on Wednesday with a free steam train to McLean Mill, courtesy of Mayor Mike Ruttan.

Ruttan greeted the tour group during a lunch at the mill.

“I’m so glad that you have made it here and that we have an opportunity to host you,” he said. He explained that the historic site belongs to the city of Port Alberni, but it’s also a place Port Alberni wants to share with the rest of the world.

“It’s important that you have a chance to see it,” he said.

Chamber Opera Chicago is visiting Canada for the first time with their musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. On Tuesday night, they performed at the McPherson Theatre in Victoria. They will be at the Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) Theatre on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available at www.brownpapertickets.com—$25 for general audiences, $20 for seniors and students and $15 for military personnel and children 12 and under.

“We have to fill the theatre,” said Tricia Knight, organizer of Port Alberni’s Jane Austen Festival. “It’s not every day we get a world-class performance like this.”

Members of the tour will also be joining the official Guinness World Record Count on Saturday, July 7 at the ADSS theatre. Last year, Port Alberni had 293 people dressed up. With the members of Chamber Opera Chicago added to the count, the town will only be about 30 people away from the World Record Count of 409. Approximately 10 McLean Mill staff members also volunteered to be a part of the count during the welcome on Tuesday.

The Arrowsmith Rotary Club will assisting with the technical details of the count. Members of the Jane Austen Society of North America still have a few costumes available and will be bringing them on the day of the count.

“We just need the bodies,” said Knight.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

 

Members of Chamber Opera Chicago got to enjoy a free steam train ride after stepping off the bus from Victoria. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Members of Chamber Opera Chicago got to enjoy a free steam train ride after stepping off the bus from Victoria. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Mayor Mike Ruttan speaks to members of Chamber Opera Chicago during a lunch at McLean Mill. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Mayor Mike Ruttan speaks to members of Chamber Opera Chicago during a lunch at McLean Mill. ELENA RARDON PHOTO