More than three decades ago this dream began, and it started with a fateful handshake between two friends. The idea of International Choral Kathaumixw was born because Don James, music director of the Powell River Academy of Music, wanted to establish an international choral festival in North America that would be on par with festivals he and the academy choirs had experienced in Europe. While hiking with his friend Dal Matterson, and inspired by the beauty of their surroundings, Don suggested to Dal that they organize an international choral festival in Powell River. Dal agreed to be chairman of the festival, and in 1984 the two men, with a group of close friends and the Academy of Music, successfully organized and launched the first Kathaumixw. What happened next was beyond anyone's expectations.