United Voices Choir

United Voices Choir

 United Voices Choir*

* like all groups in the combined church, it is expected that the name United Voices will change*

A brief history:

Dunbar Ryerson United’s Voices Choir started as an outgrowth of the Sunday morning Chancel Choir at the former Dunbar Heights United, but with the significant difference that they virtually never sang on Sunday mornings. The choir initially was designed as a way to connect to people who love to sing, but, for whatever reason, were not attending services on Sunday. Their first concerts were in 2009, and soon after presented special concert events at least twice a year. It was an opportunity to work on large sacred masterpieces with orchestra which were impractical to be undertaken within the scope of the week to week rehearsals for Sunday services. Thus, this group has become especially attractive to amateur singers who are not connected to a current church community, or who are interested in singing at a high level, or who can not make the twice a week commitment (Thursdays and Sundays) of a normal church choir.

Who we are:

The members of Voices Choir are aged 16 to 96, and range in ability from novice to very advanced. Some singers have started the choir with little experience, but a love of the music and a commitment to work hard. The group begins each project by rehearsing in their section (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) for about 6 weeks to get comfortable with their part. Sections rehearse individually with pianists to assist with notes, counting, pronunciation etc. Once everyone has their music learned in their small group, the sections are brought together to be rehearsed and refined together, and then finally brought to rehearsal with the orchestra, which usually consists of members of Postmodern Camerata.

Voice Choir combines people who are often unfamiliar with the great choral repertoire and have little or no experience in the United Church, and pairs them with some great singers and an impressive chamber orchestra. We give choristers an opportunity to learn together, to understand music from both a choral and sacred perspective, and put together concerts with professional level orchestral musicians and soloists. Most recently, in April 2017 the Voices Choir presented two almost sold out concerts of the Mozart Requiem, and many of these choristers have now sung repertoire classics by Bach (Saint John Passion, B minor Mass) Handel (Messiah), Brahms, Vivaldi as well as anthems by Stanford and Bainton.

Can I join?

We would love to hear from you. There is the expectation that you will attend weekly Monday night rehearsals, and that you will practice separately as necessary to keep up with the group. We discuss many teaching aids, links to online self-help, how to practice efficiently, as well as a weekly portal into what other choral groups in Vancouver are doing as well as links to events which are happening in the greater United Church congregation. One of the foundational principles of the choir is its desire to be a teaching choir for singers who are prepared to work hard, but who do not have a lot singing experience. Voices members learn to sing in different languages, receive basic vocal techniques to assist them, and a textual and musical perspective to make the educational experience more meaningful.

What is coming up?

Rehearsals for our fall program begin Monday September 11th, from 7PM to 9PM. We will be rehearsing at the “old” Dunbar Heights Church, which is located at Collingwood and West 24th Ave. The repertoire for this special Advent and Christmas concert features orchestral works by Brahms, Vaughan Williams, Finzi and acapella music by Poulenc. It promises to be a wonderful event to sing, and we are welcoming singers of all voice parts to join us. If you are interested in an audition, please be in touch with Dr. Greg Caisley at gmusic@drmt.ca

We are looking forward to our upcoming concerts November 24 at 7 PM and November 25th, at 2 PM. Tickets will be available starting in October, 2017.