One Week to a Calmer Happier You (through singing!)

What happens when you combine 8 days + 6 choirs + 3 award-winning faculty members + 5 centuries of music + a stunning Victoria location? You get a life changing experience through our Summer Academy’s unforgettable week of choral singing at the VCM.

Canadian/British singer and VCM faculty member and Summer Academy Artistic Director Kathryn Whitney Summer Academy Choral shares a few thoughts on this year’s program.

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On what makes Choral music and the Choral summer academy so special: 

Singing choral music is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It feels great to sing, and to hear your voice raised in harmony with dozens of other voices. Choral singing has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, calm heart rates, and prolong life! All of that, and the music is gorgeous too – we hope singers of all stripes from BC and beyond will join us for a great week of singing, skill building, and fun.

On a fond memory from the program:

Our course runs every two years, and after the 2015 final concert I got an email from a chorister who was new to our program and who had had a great exchange with a friend (and choral singer) from Japan whom he had invited to hear the concert.

After the concert, the friend asked our singer how long the choirs had been singing together. Our singer answered ‘8 days’. ‘8 days!,’ exclaimed his astonished friend, ‘the choirs were so wonderful and the ensemble singing of such high quality, I was sure you had been practicing together all year!’

On what makes the VCM Choral academy so different from other programs:

Our program is unique in Canada – I can say that with real confidence. There are lots of programs that bring singers together to learn and perform a piece in the summer, but none that offers the three very special features of our program:

(1) singers of our full-time course get the chance to sing both chamber choirs (c.15-20 people) plus a full choir (c. 70 singers). Each full-time singer sings in two chamber choirs under three conductors, plus the full choir;

(2) choral skill-building workshops and classes. We have three two-hour workshops on choral skills – two without our visiting faculty, Newfoundland conductor Kathleen Allan – sight-singing classes in two levels, special sessions on rhythm for choristers, and voice lessons by section type.

(3) the chance to participate as a part-time singer. Part-timers sing in our full choir and attend sessions on Saturdays and weekday evenings only. This part-time option is very important to us – we know that many people have to work or have other commitments in August! They should still have the chance to join us and sing!

There really is nothing like our course – we hope as many people as possible will join us!

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On who should take this program:

Our course is for all adult singers (aged 16 and up). There is no audition, and we welcome singers of all levels.

Participants will enjoy a very fun week with a varied program of skill-building workshops, classes, and lessons, and rehearsals. They will learn new singing skills, sing some very beautiful music, make friends, and have a huge amount of fun.

Favorite composer to perform?

This year our main piece is Schubert’s stunning Mass in G. This is a wonderful choral piece featuring soloists and a wonderful organ part that is too rarely performed.

Our course combines Schubert’s music with a range of pieces spanning 4 centuries. We mix the music of Byrd, Vivaldi, John Farmer, and Johann Haydn, with beautiful modern scores by composers such as Jake Runestad, Stephen Chatman, Laura Hawley, Nancy Telfer and Gregg Smith.

The Choral Summer Academy runs from August 5-12, and applications remain open until filled. Click here to register!

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