Join the SPO Chorus!

SPO_Chorus_poster_Aug15_1.1MBJoin the SPO Chorus!

Are you a singer? Have you ever wanted to sing with a live orchestra? The Sooke Philharmonic Chorus is looking for more members. We rehearse on Saturday mornings from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM. For more information, please call Lynda Rose at 250-642-3536 or email Lynda:sookerose@shaw.ca

To read more about the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus and Nicholas Fairbank, our new Choral Director, please click here.

New Sooke Philharmonic Choral Director Looks Forward to an Exciting Year

New Sooke Philharmonic Choral Director Looks Forward to an Exciting Year

Nicholas Fairbank
Nicholas Fairbank, a west coast native, has been appointed the new director of the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus by Maestro Norman Nelson, the Conductor and Musical Director of the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.

Fairbank lives in Victoria, where he works as a composer, collaborative pianist, harpsichordist and organist, conductor, adjudicator, clinician and teacher. He is the Artistic Director of Via Choralis chamber choir, the Music Director at First Unitarian Church of Victoria, and teaches organ at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

He enjoys the collaborative aspect of choral conducting. “In music, working with other people is always more interesting and stimulating than performing as a soloist, and I enjoy the exchange of musical ideas as well as the challenge of working with a group of people to craft a performance from the bare notes on the page to something that moves the singers and the audience alike.”

He sees his post with the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus as a challenging opportunity not only to conduct a new choir, but also to develop his skills as an orchestra conductor at the side of an experienced professional like Norman Nelson.

This fall, the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus will be working on excerpts from Handel’s Messiah for the December concerts. Fairbank also plans to look at some lighter classical repertoire like a cappella motets and madrigals to help develop choral skills like tuning and blend. In the spring the major work will be Mozart’s Solemn Vespers.

Fairbank enjoys working on vocal music of all kinds. He says, “Your voice is the most personal of instruments – it stays with you all your life and you don’t have to pack it in a case, lug it around in your car or on your bicycle, or have it tuned and repaired. It is also a universal instrument – with some training everyone can learn to sing properly, using the breath efficiently and managing the vocal apparatus (vocal chords, lips, teeth, tongue, etc.) so that the effect is pleasing to the singer as well as to the listener.”

The Chorus is currently open to new members. All voices are welcome but tenors and basses are needed in particular. Saturday morning rehearsals are two hours long; dress rehearsals and concerts are evenings or weekends. Previous choral experience is a plus, but not a necessity. The ability to read music at sight is definitely an advantage, but Fairbank says that those who don’t read well often have a good ear and a memory for tunes. Singers are expected to put in time on their own between rehearsals to review their parts. Rehearsals this year will be held on alternate Saturdays in Colwood (at Church of the Advent) and in Sooke (at St. Rose of Lima Church). Singers are welcome to come and discover what it’s all about the exhilaration and excitement of singing with a live orchestra-it’s free! The first rehearsal of the fall season will be September 19th. Interested people should contact Lynda Rose, the Chorus Liaison at 250-642-3536.

The Violin

 

The Violin

Sooke News Mirror, Feb 25, 2015

Norman Nelson

Norman Nelson

It was a cold winter’s night in late January, as a visitor to Sooke I was looking for a store to buy a few groceries. I parked my car and began walking across the square towards the lights.
 
Reaching me, through the dusk, resonating high and low came the sound of a violin. I stopped to listen. How could such a small instrument have such carrying power, such richness, and versatility?
 
Drawing closer, I saw a tall, lean man, his smile beaming through the darkness. He was playing a Celtic melody with such energy and enjoyment, foot tapping, his whole body swaying to the rhythm. I searched in my purse for some coins, adding them to the violin case.
 
The violin was eye-catching, made of smooth, dark curled maple. I stayed; enjoying the moment, his enthusiasm catching, and my foot began tapping in spite of myself!
 
Just then an older white haired gentleman walked towards us, he walked slowly, listening, he took his wallet out of his pocket and began folding a note and reaching the player he bent down and put the note into the violin case. As he straightened up he said to the violinist, “When I was younger I used to play the violin.” The man stopped playing, he hesitated, thoughtful, trustingly his younger hands held out the violin and bow. The older man’s hands eagerly took them. He felt the curved lines of the violin, as if sensing its strength and weakness and he began to play. The violin changed tune, as with the help of the player each violin sings its own song. It was haunting, soulful, a classical piece, it filled, warmed the spaces deep within the heart.
 
The younger man was spellbound, and finally he said to the gentleman, “I had better pack up now and leave you to it.” The older man smiled and returned the violin to its owner. He then invited him to play at a venue on Saturday night, the man thanked him but declined explaining he was just passing through Sooke and would not be here then. The older man continued on his way into the store. I went on mine, quietly reflecting on such a poignant moment.

 

As serendipity would have it, a couple of days later I was dining at a local spot with a friend and picked up an advertising leaflet for the 2014-2015 Concert Season. Sooke has a Philharmonic Orchestra – Wow. Reading the leaflet I saw a picture of a white haired gentleman, it was of Norman Nelson, a man who had studied violin at the Royal College of Music in London, internationally acclaimed. I thought I recognized him, but could this possibly be the same man who had so modestly entertained us the previous evening? What a magical introduction to Sooke.

Barbara Geary
Galiano Island

Fullfilling a passion for singing in the chorus

Fulfilling a passion for singing in the chorus

Sooke News Mirror

Bob Vermeulenposted Oct 29, 2014
With earphones firmly in and the iPod set to practising the tenor part of a choral piece, Bob Vermeulen was so engrossed in singing an aria one day as he did his postman task of loading community mail boxes, that he never noticed the big black bear a few metres away sniffing at his car door! While it wasn’t unusual to see bears along his route between Otter Point and Jordan River, this one seemed to enjoy listening to the singing! Not only the bears but also several people on his routing benefitted from hearing the repertoire of songs, earning him the reputation as “the Singing Mailman.” Although retired from Canada Post last year and also from his former Mainland career of sales and marketing in bioinformatics specializing in software analysis of biological data, Bob has always had a heart for music. His father and older brother were accomplished violinists and the family home was constantly full of music. His wife Linda is also a pianist and together they raised two daughters with the passion for many types of music both orchestral and choral.
When Bob and his wife moved from Coquitlam in 2005, one of the draws to settling down in Sooke was the extraordinary fact that a small community supported a distinguished orchestra and other arts. His neighbour first introduced the concept of auditioning for the chorus. And it was perfect fit. He believes he has personally had solid choral training from Choral Director Wade Noble who has led the whole chorus to be such a notable success. Bob appreciates being involved with the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus for the camaraderie it offers. But his penultimate joy in chorus work is singing Handel’s Messiah with full orchestral and choral support to a receptive and grateful audience. It becomes an emotion filled satisfaction deemed to be far better than singing to the bears!

 

For more information on the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus go to: www.sookephil.ca or call Chorus Liaison Lynda Rose: 250-642-3536
— Marilyn Cudmore