By David F. Rooney
By almost any standard, the Community Choir is pretty spectacular, especially when you consider that it has only been in existence since September.
“I think it’s because the choir members just love to sing,” says conductor Robyn Abear of the 44 singers’ truly apparent joie de vivre. “They all sing from the heart and it shows.”
It certainly showed when they sang Many Gifts One Spirit during the fund-raising concert for the Hospice Society this autumn and it should also be apparent on Sunday and Monday (Dec. 13 and 14) when they perform Christmas Concerts at the United Church at 7 pm. During those performances they will sing a variety of songs ranging from classics such as Handel’s Sing For Joy and Ave Maria to the African Praise Noel, the Australian carol (obviously a tribute to her childhood in Australia) Orana Carol of the Birds, to Many Gifts One Spirit, Blessed Be That Maid Marie and Mary Did You Know?
And that same love of song will burst from their hearts and souls next month when they perform the Olympic Torch Relay Anthem during the ceremony leading up to the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron in Grizzly Plaza on Jan. 26.
For Abear, this measure of success confirms what she has known all along.
“I really felt that this community needed a community choir and that there was certainly enough talent here to establish one,” she said in an interview.
Anyone who saw Abear conduct the choir at the Hospice Society concert will be forgiven for thinking that she is a professional conductor. She’s not, but she certainly carries herself like one. That’s a consequence of a one-week course on choir conducting that she took in Vancouver last August.
“It was an experience that affected me in different ways. It was overwhelming and then numbing and the intimidating one day… and then the next day it would start all over again. There were instructors from Elektra and the Vancouver Men’s Choir — the really top-notch professional groups — and others from as far away as Virginia. Some of the students had their Masters’ and others were neophytes like me.”
Intimidated and numbed she may have been, but its doubtful that Abear was every completely overwhelmed, because she so obviously carried those lessons back home to Revelstoke.
No pressures, Robyn, no pressures.