The Amy Ferguson Institute


In 2009, the Amy Ferguson Institute (AFI) commissioned BC composer, Don Macdonald and BC playwright and director, Nicola Harwood to collaborate in the creation of KHAOS.

AFI had previously commissioned Mr. Macdonald to compose a new work for chorus, soprano soloist and orchestra, entitled Echoes of the Mountains, that was premiered at an AFI sponsored choral workshop in the Spring of 2005 and performed again later in the same year at the official opening of the new Nelson District Community Complex.

The Amy Ferguson Institute is a registered charity formed in 2000 to celebrate the musical legacy of the late Dr. Amy Ferguson by promoting the performance, education and appreciation of fine music in the West Kootenay Region.  The Institute mounts annual productions of opera and musical theatre, sponsors vocal festivals, workshops and masterclasses, and endows a scholarship for deserving local students embarking on a career in music.

The commissioning of KHAOS  is by far the largest project untaken by the Amy Ferguson Institute. To complete all three components of this project; the commission, the world premiere production in Nelson and touring the same production to four other communities in the Kootenays, has required the Institute to raise over $100,000.  Over 70% of the funds raised for KHAOS have come from individual Nelson area opera fans and AFI supporters either through direct donations or by participating in fundraising events organized by AFI. The principal fundraiser for this effort has been AFI director and opera commission chair, Marty Horswill, who is also the producer of the KHAOS world premiere production.


Nelson Community Opera

The Amy Ferguson Institute mounts its performances of opera and musical theatre through its production company, Nelson Community Opera (NCO).

NCO has mounted annual productions since its inception in 1996.  These include:

Operas:           La Boheme, the Merry Widow, Cavalleria Rusticana, the Marriage of Figaro, the Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel, die Fledermaus and Orfeo & Euridice and

Musical theatre:        Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, Three Penny Opera, The little Shop of Horrors and Cole Porter’s You Never Know.

In a marked departure from its usual pattern, the 2010 NCO production was a special Remembrance Day performance featuring the Kootenay’s first presentation of Karl Jenkin’s brilliant choral masterpiece, The Armed Man, a mass for peace. Our production featured a solo dancer, massed chorus choreography and atmospheric lighting to elicit the many moods of Jenkin’s complex work.


The Institute regards the mandate of its production company to be:  presenting the finest possible performances for audience enjoyment through showcasing the talents of  performers, directors, designers and technicians resident in the Kootenay region.


Contact either the Amy Ferguson Institute or Nelson Community Opera at:


Tel: 250-352-2595

or by e-mail at:

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