It’s wonderful to connect with all of you to share some updates and stories from Voices in Motion Choral Society. In this edition of Good Vibrations, you will hear from our Board Chair and our new Musical Director as well as some heartfelt stories about music and what it means to be a part of the musical family that is Voices in Motion.
The Voices in Motion Choral Society (ViM) recently held its Annual General Meeting sharing the triumphs and the challenges of the past year including: the departure of our founding Music Director, Erica Phare-Bergh and Executive Director, Rick Bergh; live concerts in December and May; the search for new artistic and administrative leadership; and, on a sadder note, the final farewell we bid to some of our choir members who passed away over the past year.
We were happy to introduce our new Music Director, Amy Van Wensem, in September and has introduced many fresh ideas to the choir.
Voices in Motion has also welcomed Administrator Kathy Kinahan, a position where she has already made a significant impact. In addition to highlights of the past year, we will benefit from the efforts of a strong Board of Directors that has been bolstered by two new directors elected at this years AGM. Moving forward, the 9 member Board will work hard to ensure that the Society is organizationally and financially sustainable.
For more information about the team, please visit our Team Page:
Corporate and individual donations are an important revenue stream for Voices in Motion.
Funds donated assist Voices in Motion Choral Society to continue our in-person musical experiences, connect with audiences, fairly compensate our artistic and administrative leadership, and foster dementia-friendly activities within the community. Contributions of any amount are greatly appreciated and can be made in honour of the special people in your lives. Please consider us in your year-end giving plans.
To make an online tax-deductible donation, please visit: https://donorbox.org/donatetovim
Being a choir conductor wasn’t easy during the last two years when singing was largely outlawed; however, I was surprised by the sweet moments in the midst of the struggle.
Each Sunday morning during the early pandemic, my husband Casey and I would lift up the upright piano (the one I learned on as a child) and move it from our basement to the wet, dewy, grass in our backyard in North Saanich. From there, we would setup a makeshift recording studio.
I remember the first Easter Sunrise Service, where we stepped outside at 6:00am on a chilly Sunday morning to setup the cameras – we could see our breath hanging in the air.
But what should have been a lonely time was actually quite mesmerizing. When we began the stream of the service, we – along with the hundreds of folks online – were greeted by a flock of Canadian Geese coming back from their winter retreat in the south. Most memorable was a chorus of “Joyful, Joyful” which was almost overpowered by the lusty calls of the tree frogs who joyfully raised their voices in the new spring season. I remember how our morning voices were joined by hundreds of people online, all of whom were commenting actively and singing in their homes – in their bathrobes and slippers. It was magical! One of our choristers recently said to me that , “singing is our birthright” and not even the animals could be kept from singing that sweet morning.
Like so many of Voices in Motion’s choir members, I am so encouraged by the creative ways that people transcend their experiences to make beauty together.
Keep on singing!
Family and Friends Musical Party
All are invited to join us for a Musical Party, including a performance by the choirs, a sing-along of holiday favourites, with refreshments and socializing to follow.
Date: December 3
Time: 2:30 – 4:30pm
Location: Board View United Church,
2625 Arbutus Road, Victoria
Admission is by donation:
We will not be selling tickets to the party as attendance will be by donation.
You can either donate at the door or donate prior to the event by clicking here, select “Family Friends and Musical Party”, and donate whatever you feel is fair and reasonable for an afternoon of music and fun.
The holidays are a difficult time for many people who have lost a loved one. First Memorial Funeral Services invites you to attend a candlelight remembrance service in honor of those who have passed away.
Voices in Motion Choirs will be performing at this year’s Reflection Service.
Date: December 8
Location: First Memorial Funeral Services,
4725 Falaise Drive, Victoria
HELLO FROM ERICA AND RICK!
We can’t believe that it’s already been six months since we left the Island for Cochrane – and we’ve already had snow! We are enjoying being closer to family and have had a full and busy summer and autumn with plenty of visitors. As well, we celebrated many special family events, including our son’s wedding and Erica’s 58th birthday party.
We have also started doctorates together (D. Min.) to keep our brains active and learning. Being involved with Voices in Motion will figure hugely in our study; you have had a very big impact in our lives!
Rick continues to do online grief counseling and is getting busier as pandemic restrictions lift.
Erica is busy playing piano and doing workshops for the Cochrane High School Choirs. Also, Erica is now on the other side of the conductor’s podium, sitting in your seats as she cares for her 95-year-old mom, Edith, who has dementia. It gives us more respect than ever for all caregivers – you are our heroes. We’re finding it very challenging and are reaching out for help as needed.
Have a great musical year!
STORIES WORTH TELLING
By Mary Bomford
The poem refers to a single mom on welfare looking after her child, but I think it applies equally to all of us as caregivers.
She writes of “the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night”.
Here are two sections from the longer poem:
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, “It’s hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there’s no one
to say what a good job you’re doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache.”
of my heart
is the work of the world’s heart.
There is no other art.
STORIES WORTH TELLING
My wife and I met in Musaic, a queer choir, more than 20 years ago. The sense of community that happens in choirs has always been important to both of us and over the years we have each sung in several different choirs.
But life changes and eventually neither of us had a choir nor a choir community.
I had heard of Voices in Motion from its inception and thought it was a wonderful idea but it didn’t really seem like the right place for us at that time. And then life changed again. Four years ago my wife began experiencing challenges with her short-term memory. She wanted to sing and tried a few different places but her increasing memory impairment made it difficult.
Last Fall, we decided to try Voices In Motion.
At first my wife found it difficult and tiring to learn the music and she gave up for a month. But I invited her to practise the songs with me at home, using the on-line practise tracks.
She soon realized she could learn the music and it became enjoyable. She re-joined the choir and had a great term.
Each term it gets harder again as her brain struggles with the new music, but each term she finds she can learn the songs, have a sense of achievement and have fun. It helps so much to be singing with other people who are experiencing similar challenges.
Yes, choir singing is good for the brain and that’s important, but the best part for us is the joy of singing and the wonderful people that include us in such a supportive and fun community.
Once more we have a place to sing together!
THE MUSIC CONNECTION
Is there a particular song that connects you with someone you miss?
We’d love to feature you and your song in our next edition of the newsletter. Please submit your story and song to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy Kinahan is Voices in Motion’s new Administrator. 18 years ago, she lost her oldest sister, Debi, to brain cancer. Debi had been like a mother to her throughout her life – she was Kathy’s “safe” place – and now she was gone. Kathy recalls the darkness that accompanied her as she drove back, alone, from Lethbridge to Vancouver following the funeral. As she got closer to the Rocky Mountains she took solace in the amazing mountain range – it has always brought her such awe and wonder. “I felt a pull towards the mountains – a pull towards my own little family waiting for me in Vancouver – I needed to be back with my children and the mountains and the ocean and to just breath again.
The tears were pouring from my face (I probably should NOT have been driving!) and then this song popped up on the radio. I know that it was sent from Debi to remind me of how beautiful life could be – and that it would, one day, be beautiful again.
She was right! I HOPE YOU ALL DANCE!
Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement that takes place each year following Black Friday. This year Giving Tuesday is on November 29th.
Dubbed the “opening day of the giving season,” it’s a time when charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for their favourite causes. In the same way that retailers take part in Black Friday, the giving community comes together for Giving Tuesday.
Voices in Motion Choral Society is a charitable organization the relies on your generous donations to continue our vision of singing together. Choir members have a minimal registration fee to ensure that anyone can join us. This registration fee covers only a small part of the total cost to run the entire program and, therefore, we rely on the generosity of sponsors and donors to continue fulfilling our mission.
Please consider Voices in Motion Choral Society as a recipient of your 2022 Giving Tuesday donations.
Our mission is to create intergenerational choirs for people with memory loss, their caregivers, friends, and students. Everyone is welcome!
Registration for the January – April 2023 term will be open by mid-December. Please watch your email for more information.