Victoria choir charts new waters

Music director Brian Wismath started with the organization in May and spent the summer planning the 2012-13 season.

Brian Wismath

A new face at the helm plus a changed rehearsal venue could culminate in a collaborative and inspiring season for the Victoria Choral Society.

Music director Brian Wismath started with the organization in May and spent the summer planning the 2012-13 season.

“It’s a large organization. The choir has about 130 to 145 people,” he said, likening it to the Titanic. “Manoeuvring can be a challenge at times. … It takes a big background crew to make sure things move smoothly.”

A change in policy meant a change in practice space for the Victoria Choral Society this season. The audition choir moves from Holy Cross Church to the Oak Bay United Church on Mitchell Street.

“Oak Bay gives us the opportunity to connect with the community which is part of our mandate,” said Wismath. “It’s been a lot of work finding a new location. There’s only so many spaces in the city that can hold as many people as we have. … It’s all very much appropriate and in line with our upcoming season which is full of newness.”

The new leader has a rich choral background. He has served as director of the University of Victoria Chamber Singers and Tucson Masterworks Chorale; as associate conductor of Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Chorus Niagara, and Ontario Youth Choir; and as assistant conductor of Opera in Concert Chorus (Ontario). In 2006, Wismath conducted the Vancouver Chamber Choir as a participant in the Choral Conductors’ Symposium concert broadcast on CBC Radio.

“The choir is looking forward to working with Brian,” said Tricia Johnson, president of Victoria Choral Society’s board of directors. “His energy, dedication, and passion for choral music is infectious.”

With a new musical leader, come new ideas.

“One of my tasks and responsibilities has been finding a way to connect my musical ideas for the organization,” Wismath said. He and the VCS background team filtered through ideas to create “a menu of performances” for this season.

“Next season is a unique season for us because we do two very large concerts with the Victoria Symphony,” he said.

Continuing the long tradition of collaboration with the Victoria Symphony, the Victoria Choral Society will start the season with two performances as guests of the Symphony. In November, the choir will perform Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Maestra Tania Miller. VCS will join the Symphony again in December to present the perennial favourite, Handel’s Messiah, under guest conductor Michelle Mourre.

The season will conclude in May 2013 with Wismath’s debut leading the choir, featuring a program of standard choral masterworks and unique contemporary compositions. Haydn’s Nelson Mass as well as works by American-Swedish composer Steve Dobrogosz and Latvian composer Peteris Vasks will be performed with soloists and orchestra.

“We’re performing one piece of music that is very much a known work … but we’re also combining it with three fairly modern works,” Wismath said.

“I believe in the importance of educating our audience on music,” he explained. “If we only listen to (one type of music) we tend to grow to only accept the sounds that we’re used to … it’s required to expose ourselves as musicians and our audience base to a variety of music. It keeps them interested in what we’re doing and what comes next.”

The choir is always on the search for new voices and auditions for this season are underway.

Contact membership@victoriachoralsociety.ca for details. Complete information about the auditions can be found at victoriachoralsociety.ca.

Did you know?

Brian Wismath is also music director of the Vox Humana Chamber Choir and the Victoria Conservatory of Music Chorale.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Victoria to reassess 2020 budget in light of COVID-19; more hotel rooms found for the homeless

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update on municipal measures on March 31

Tents, sleeping bags donated to Our Place from local Victoria store

Robinson’s Outdoor Store received funds from PwC Canada to make the donation

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Victoria police arrest man in stolen Jubilee Hospital worker’s car

Suspect found in car with drugs, stolen property and weapons

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read