Giving back: Opera singer Gratiela Pachmann performs in concert Dec. 5 to raise funds for iLearn Street.

Concert with purpose

Christmas with Gratiela on Saturday, Dec. 5 will feature an evening of beautiful music with all proceeds going to iLearn Street.

Gratiela Pachmann will sing for the children.

Christmas with Gratiela on Saturday, Dec. 5 will feature an evening of beautiful music with all proceeds going to iLearn Street.

Often described as having the voice of an angel, Gratiela has performed sold-out concerts in the past.

“I am passionate about giving back to the community,” she says. “The (iLearn) event was cancelled in June and that’s when I realized I will do this concert so we have funds in place to have a fair that is free for all kids.”

Gratiela explains that iLearn Street allows children and youth from six to 15 to experience, imagine and actively participate in various learning opportunities through fun, interesting, innovative and interactive methods.

An event at the fairgrounds in 2013 was organized by Shuswap Eagles Pathfinder Club, a non-profit organization sponsored by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It featured 13 interesting and innovative stations that drew rave reviews from children and parents.

Gratiela is a care aide at Hillside Village. Her last concert was two years ago in Calgary with the multiple award-winning Canadian tenor group, Tenore.

The Christmas with Gratiela concert will feature seasonal music along with songs from her album, Gratiela: The Voice of an Angel, which was released three years ago.

“Tenore performs on my album; we have collaborated with the same producers in Prague,” she says, of the album that was recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Members of the Shuswap Seventh Day Adventist Children’s Choir, including her son Everett Pachmann, will perform Edelweiss.

Gratiela will perform O Holy Night, Silent Night, Va’pensiero by Guiseppe Verdi (chorus of the Hebrew slaves) and Michael Bublé’s Home.

Gratiela is looking forward to performing Holy City with Bronwyn Christianson and a string ensemble consisting of violinists Carmen Stoney, Cherish Stoney, Naomi Chan and Tamar Skinner, Barb Ennis and Madelyn Stoney playing cello, Deverick Clingwall on bass and Andrew Stoney on piano.

“I will open with Amazing Grace,” Gratiela says. “One of my residents calls me that so I’m doing that for him.”

A classically trained soprano-lyric with a four-octave range, Gratiela was born and raised in Romania during the brutal reign of Nicolae Ceauescu.

A graduate of the town’s Scoala Populara de Arta, she was in the post office to make copies of a poster advertising an upcoming competition, when she met her future husband.

A Salmon Arm resident and part of a Pentecostal Church mission in Romania to distribute food and clothing, Tim was in the company of a pastor, his wife and another missionary couple.

They spoke no Romanian. Gratiela spoke no English.

But with the help of a colleague who could speak English, a friendship was born and three days prior to returning to Canada, Tim dropped a bombshell by asking Gratiela’s parents for permission to marry her.

Romance blossomed by telephone over the next six months and in July, 1993, Tim returned to Romania with an airplane ticket and an engagement ring.

While her introduction to Salmon Arm was overwhelming at first, Gratiela has grown to love this community and performing for a local crowd.

“I haven’t had a concert for three years and I want people to come and enjoy,” she says.

To listen to her new album, visit



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