Victoria community choir fun, powerful, empowering, says director

The Choir has a good bass of singers, but the treble is too many people want to join.

The Choir has 100 singers, but another 170 want to join

Victoria's The Choir performs at Alix Goolden Hall in January 2016. 100 people belong to The Choir; another 170 want to join. (The Choir - Victoria, BC/Facebook)

A Victoria community choir is apparently in tune with the desires of local amateur singers.

The Choir, based at Larsen Music, has 100 singers in it who sing original arrangements of pop songs.

But in addition to those 100 active singers, there's a wait list of over 170 people who would love to join.

"It is a lot of people," Marc Jenkins, The Choir's director, told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

"It says to me there's a lot of people in Victoria, and I can imagine lots of other places too, that want to be a part of something like this. A lot of the people on the wait list know people in The Choir or have seen us perform," he said.

"They see or know of their friends having a really fun time. But it's more than just fun. There's a community aspect as well."

Jenkins says he and others at The Choir try to direct those who are interested to other community choirs in the city.

But that doesn't always work.

"Something about the size and the repertoire of The Choir, there's a certain gravity to it that makes it seem really comfortable," he said.

"When you're opening your mouth to sing, when maybe you never have before … to be among friends who become family, that's pretty special."

'It's almost magical'

Still, Jenkins says it's his preference that those on the wait list, or just have an interest in singing, join a choir and start singing. He says it would be great if more community choirs launched in the Victoria area.

"It's really fun. It's really powerful. It's really empowering," he said.

"It's really amazing to see someone show up at their very first rehearsal, holding their book in front of their face ... and 15 weeks later, see them on stage in front of 600 people at Alex Goolden Hall belting out Fleetwood Mac and St. Vincent and David Bowie and U2 and R.E.M. and see them own it."

"It's a transformation. It's almost magical."

With files from All Points West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Victoria community choir sees big membership, and bigger waiting list

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.