* like all groups in the combined church, it is expected that the name Voices will be changed*
A brief history-
Voices Choir started as an outgrowth of the Sunday morning Chancel Choir at Dunbar Heights, 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. It was also an opportunity to work on larger scale projects that are too large to be undertaken within the scope of the week to week rehearsals for Sunday services. Thus, this group is especially attractive to people who are not connected to the current church community, but who are interested in singing at a high level, and who can not make a twice a week commitment (Thursdays and Sundays) for a normal church choir.
The members of Voices choir are usually aged 16 to 96, and rehearse in their section (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) for about 6 to 8 weeks first to get comfortable. Each section is assigned a pianist who teaches them 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.
Postmodern Camerata (PMC) has been the professional orchestra in residence at Dunbar Heights United, and while it was not a budgeted line item of the church, the orchestral part of the organization has been used to accompany the choir for these concerts. PMC currently consists of 16 professional singers and an Chamber orchestra of about 15, and we have used members from this organization to assist with Voices projects as necessary.
The resulting choir ensemble combines people who are often unfamiliar with the great choral repertoire, and have little or no experience in the United Church with some great singers and an impressive chamber orchestra. We give choristers an opportunity to learn together, to understand music from a choral and sacred perspective, and put together concerts with professional grade orchestral musicians and soloists. Having said that, many of these choristers have now sung repertoire classics by Bach (Saint John Passion, B minor Mass) Handel (Messiah), Mozart, Brahms, and Vivaldi. So they are getting more 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. It is open to all singers of really all levels, and it is specifically designed as a teaching Choir to make it accessible to everybody – especially people who are unfamiliar with the church tradition in the United Church.
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 practise 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.
What is coming up?
Our First rehearsal is expected to be January 23 (Monday) at the 24th Avenue building. 7-9 PM. We are almost ready to announce our repertoire. Choristers should expect that we will be doing a concert on Good Friday, April 14, 2017.
Much more detail to follow. If you have questions, email (Dr) Greg Caisley directly.