Vancouver CanSing Choirs, a multi-generational group

by Gerda Blok-Wilson on August 19th, 2017
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VCS in the Vancouver Hillcrest neighbourhood, began in 2010 and is comprised of 4 youth choirs and an adult choir (all ages) and provides opportunities for youth and adult musical collaborations and music-making.

The choirs rehearse and perform separately at Cityview Church (4370 Sophia St) but one of the highlights is the multi-generational singing that is built into the rehearsal and performance format. Each session creative programming provides for children to perform with adults (many who are parents).

The approximately one hour long performance is built around a big theme. Songs for each choir are chosen from this theme including several mass choir selections which include multi-generational singing with different youth groups and adults and youth. The connection between the singers and audience is also of key importance and for each performance there is at least one audience sing along song that fits the theme.

The rehearsals run for a period of 8 – 10 weeks and then all the choirs come together to perform for each other, friends, family and general public. The finale piece is always a mass choir selection with five choirs performing together. The final rehearsals are an exciting way to grow musically and socially.

The philosophy of the community group is “if you can talk, you can sing.” The program is for people who have had previous experience singing and those who can carry a tune but would genuinely like to learn how to sing. The music is eclectic but chosen from the finest choral songs with a preference to Canadian composers. The development of singing skills and overall musical learning is a key aim along with social interaction.

The sense of community and joy derived from this choral approach has been exciting for both youth and adult singers. In just a few years, the choir has made great musical strides. The full membership has grown from 25 singers to approximately 140 singers per session.

Here are five favourite mass choral selections that have worked well:

All Choirs

We Rise Again arr Stephen Smith

Hallelujah arr Emerson

Land of the Silverbirch arr Gerda Blok Wilson

Light One Candle arr Cormier

Let the River Run arr Craig Hella Johnson

 

Youth

All the Little Rivers Larry Nickel

Oleana arr Gerda Blok-Wilson

On the Back of an Eagle Nancy Telfer

Yesu Ni Wangu arr Ruth Morris Gray

Path to the Moon Eric Thimann


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