VCM ChoirKids_1

ChoirKids Logo

ChoirKids is a non-auditioned choir program delivered through the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Outreach for Children, into local Victoria Elementary schools.  ChoirKids focuses on singing for fun, to foster a love and appreciation for music. All music is learnt by ear, and may include at times light choreography.  Weekly rehearsals provide a range of “warm-up” games, and repertoire is drawn from popular folk tunes, and contemporary music, sung either in unison, or in two parts.  Piano, guitar, and/or ukulele accompaniment is provided where appropriate, and end of term performance opportunities are arranged in coordination with all ChoirKids groups and the Arbutus Singers.

If you are willing to volunteer with ChoirKids, please click on the VOLUNTEER tab (left) for more information.


The concept of ChoirKids came from the desire to provide kids the Choir Kids Victoriaopportunity to sing in a non-auditioned choir, in communities that might not currently offer it, simply for fun and for free. Spearheaded by Jack Boomer and Jane Cowell, five members of the Arbutus Singers came together to form the Arbutus Singers Music Education Society in 2006. The goal, through a non-profit organization, was to establish children and youth choirs in the Greater Victoria area. The Society received charitable status in 2008.

The first children’s choir was formed in September of 2008 at the James Bay Community School. In 2009, two additional choirs were established through the Burnside-Gorge Community Centre: one at the centre itself and another at Quadra Elementary School. In 2011, a specific program for students in grades 1 and 2 at Tillicum Elementary was developed, and Craigflower Elementary joined the ChoirKids family. That same year a program at Victoria West Elementary started up, and a another choir began in collaboration with Big Brothers – Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club and the Intercultural Association. A partnership with Victor-Brodeur School in the spring of 2013 saw introduced a ChoirKids choir singing in French.
In 2015, the Victoria Conservatory of Music (VCM) was asked and agreed to “adopt” this wonderful program under its umbrella of programming , and since then, ChoirKids continues to thrive as one of the VCM’s key music programs for children, delivered through the VCM’s Children’s Music Outreach Program into local Elementary schools.  The lives of over 200 children are touched each year across 4 local schools.
Providing young children with an opportunity to sing in choirs, supports language competency, resiliency, empathy and an appreciation of cultural diversity. These benefits not only help children to succeed in school, but also through the experience of working together as a musical team to create and share music to the community, helps ensure children success in their social environment as well.


George Jay Elementary



Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 2.25.28 PM





DANIEL BRANDES is a composer, pianist, educator, and church musiciandaniel who lives in Esquimalt with his wife, son, and cat. Daniel holds a M.Mus in Composition (2010) from the University of Victoria where he studied composition with Christopher Butterfield, and a B.Mus (2007) from the University of Windsor where he studied piano with Philip Adamson and composition with Brent Lee.

Daniel’s compositions have been performed across Canada as well as in the USA, France, Germany, the UK, and Russia by numerous soloists and ensembles such as the Quatuor Bozzini, The BC Girls Choir, MyVoice Choir, Ethos Collective, Redshift New Music Society, Bespoken Ensemble, the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble, Colin Tilney, Andrea Young, and Odeya Nini. Upcoming projects include participating in the 2016 Nu:Nord Symposium in Huddersfield, England—a bi-annual gathering of leading young composers and performers from Canada, the UK, and Norway. His scores are published by Edition Wandelweiser (Haan Germany).

In 2012 Daniel and his wife Laura founded A Place to Listen, a monthly concert series held at James Bay United Church, where Daniel is the Director of Music. To date, A Place to Listen has presented over 25 concerts, and has established itself as a central hub of Victoria’s thriving new and experimental music community.

Since 2011, Daniel has been working as an outreach educator with the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the Canadian Music Centre. With support from with these two organizations, Daniel has lead Composer in the Classroom residencies at numerous schools through the CRD. This amazing program has allowed Daniel to work with elementary, middle, and high school students, guiding them through the process of discovering their own creative voice through writing original compositions.

Daniel loves singing, teaching, and kids, and is very much looking forward to the 2015-2016 Choir Kids Year. He is very honoured to be part of this wonderful program.

ACCOMPANIST (Choir Director Sub)


JEFF POYNTER is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, and artist manager based in Victoria, BC, Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria, with a major in Saxophone Performance. Jeff performs regularly with the popular indie-folk group West My Friend as well as with burlesque performer Rosie Bitts and the gypsy-jazz quartet Hot Club of Canada.

As an experienced pianist, accordionist, and guitarist, Jeff was the music director at Pilgrim United Church in Colwood BC for five years, was the Assistant Music Minister at Oak Bay United Church in Victoria, and now leads music at Cadboro Bay United Church with Louise Rose. He regularly tours Canada and the US, and plays many styles of music, from classical to funk, latin to celtic, and jazz to folk.

In addition, Jeff has taught private lessons on saxophone, piano, clarinet, accordion, and guitar for more than a decade, starting out at the Stewart Music Studio in Langley, BC before teaching at Larsen Music in Victoria, BC for four years. He now runs Pine & Anchor Studio where he gives lessons, provides space for other teachers and students, and hosts rehearsals.


STACEY BENN completed her degree in Jazz Piano performance from Capilano University, and then worked on cruise lines as a pianist, which ultimately led to her role as Musical Director for Crystal Cruises. After leaving life at sea, Stacey studied Piano Technology at the University of Western Ontario and has been working as a Piano Technician since 2011. She has played often for Tea at the Fairmont Empress hotel, and has recently joined the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s ChoirKids program as accompanist for the Macauley Elementary School location.


Rewarding, Fulfilling, Magical… what it feels like to volunteer with ChoirKids

If you are interested in volunteering with ChoirKids please click on the follow link to our online application form:  CHOIRKIDS VOLUNTEER APPLICATION

The Victoria Conservatory of offers a number of volunteer opportunities, including ushering in the Alix Goolden Performance Hall.  Please connect with VCM staff member Melody Benbow for more information:  250.419.4317  |  [email protected]

Registration forms are provided through each participating school’s main office, and are distributed to all families with children attending these schools.  Parents and students are encouraged to take advantage of this wonderful program, to complete the registration and media-release forms, and return them to their school office.