The concept of Kathaumixw began quietly in 1982, after Don James had recently taken the Powell River Boys Choir to an international festival in Wales and stood with Dal Matterson on a hiking trail overlooking the Malaspina and Georgia Straits, wondering aloud why there couldn’t be a festival of a similar calibre in North America. Don James, music director of the Powell River Academy of Music, was convinced not only that there could, but that it should be right here amid the beauty of Powell River; Dal Matterson, a mill executive, agreed on the spot to become its chairman. The two honed a mission statement and swore to stick to it. Thus was born the legend of Kathaumixw.
Inspired by the unique name of Llangollen’s Eisteddfod and wanting to underscore a strong sense of place, James insisted on using a Coast Salish word to name the festival; Kathaumixw, meaning “a gathering together of different peoples,” became the perfect choice.
The Kathaumixw Thunderbird Logo
The Thunderbird is the supreme bird of all birds. Native myths state that the Thunderbird created land for man to stand upon. He uses lightning and thunder to protect man from supernatural beings and is kind and helpful. He sits upon the mountain tops, spreads his wings and protects all. The Thunderbird logo is an original design created for the International Choral Kathaumixw by local artist William D. Finn. The theme has been carried through to our trophies for the children, youth and adult competitions. Mr. Finn is a hand engraver and has worked primarily in gold and silver for the past twenty years.