Member profile: Meet Myriam!

This is Myriam’s first year in a choir since high school and she is very excited to be singing with Out in Harmony! Myriam teaches grade 4/5 at Hastings Elementary Community School. She is also a member of PEN (Pride Education Network), which advocates for an inclusive, respectful environment for all students, staff and families, regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity, within all B.C. educational institutions, through the development of concrete supports, policies, resources and actions. She also travels around the province and gives workshops for teachers on anti-transphobia/homophobia education.

myriam

During her spare time she likes being outside, gardening or walking her friend Tuk. She also enjoys discovering new vegetarian dishes, reading a good book and knitting. Myriam plays the piano and music has always played a big role in her life. She is thrilled to have found a choir as wonderful as Out in Harmony!

Who’s steering this thing?

OiH is a non-profit arts group incorporated under the Society Act of B.C.

Members determine overall policy at an Annual General Meeting each spring, where they also elect a Board of volunteers who oversee choir administration and finances. The Board meets monthly and meetings are open to all members of the
Society. Meetings are in the evening and generally involve delicious treats.

The 2010-2011 OiH Board members are:

Mo, Board Chair, Alto
Alyx, Vice Chair, Alto
Geoff, Secretary, Tenor
Chris, Member at Large, Bass
Bev, Member at Large, Alto
Liz, Treasurer, Alto
Lauryn, Member at Large, Soprano
Corey, Member at Large, Bass

Nicola Hamilton attends meetings in her capacity as Artistic Director.

Anyone looking to contact the choir or its board can reach us at: outinharmony@gmail.com.

Member profile: Meet Lauryn!

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Lauryn began singing like an angel when she was just a toddler. Growing up on the East Coast, where music was an important part of daily life, she was frequently in demand with requests to do renditions of “The Bluenose Sails Once Again.” Later, she joined choirs in school and church, and carried over her love of singing to her migration to Toronto, where she was a member of Singing Out! and a women’s choir.

Upon moving to the West Coast, Lauryn promptly joined the VLGC, now Out in Harmony, and sings her heart out at practices and concerts. Lauryn works in communications and fundraising and has brought soome of those skills to her position as a new OIH Board member.

FAQs

Here are answers to some of the questions we’ve been asked.  Don’t see the answer here?  Ask away!

When and where do you rehearse?

Every Tuesday from September to mid-June, 7:30 – 9:30 at St. Margaret’s Cedar Cottage Anglican Church, 1530 E. 22nd Avenue (at Dumfries, near the corner of Kingsway and Knight), Vancouver.  We usually have a weekend retreat once per term.

Do I have to be gay to sing with you?

We welcome people of all genders, orientations, and levels of ability who want to sing together in community.

Is there an audition?

No! You will never be asked to sing alone, unless you decide you want to try a solo. (Though if you would like some advice on which part to sing, the director would be happy to spend a few minutes with you at the piano.)

Do I have to be able to read music?

No! We have a number of members who sing with us very successfully who don’t read music at all.

Do you use rehearsal tapes?

Not at this time. If this is a tool that works for you, you’re welcome to record rehearsals and practice with that.

Do I have to memorize the music?

It makes for a better concert experience if you have your music memorized, so we encourage you to try, but you can use music during concerts if you need it.

Do you only accept new members in September?

No, feel free to drop by any time! We have our major concerts in January and June. If you join right before a concert, you and the director will decide together whether you’re ready to perform, but you’re still welcome to come on Tuesdays and sing!

What if I need to miss a rehearsal?

We understand that we all have lives outside of choir, and sometimes that means missing a rehearsal.  If you aren’t going to be there on a Tuesday, or for some other scheduled choir event, we ask that you let your section leader know.   If you need to miss several rehearsals, we’d still like to have you come on Tuesdays and sing with us, and you and the director can decide together whether you’ll be ready to sing in the concert.

What if I need to miss an outreach performance or retreat?

When we are scheduling something for a time other than a Tuesday, we ask the choir as far in advance as possible to make sure that we’ll have enough singers to participate.

What kind of music do you sing?

A variety. We sing pop/rock, vocal jazz, madrigals or light classical pieces, selections from musicals, folk songs, and music that defies categorization. We mostly sing in English, but we have been known to sing in Italian, Spanish, and Russian, to name a few.

Do you sing religious music?

Generally, no. Very occasionally we’ll sing something with the word “god” in it, but it’s usually music that leaves the definition up to the singers and audience.

Can I bring my child/pet to rehearsals?

Regretfully, no. Choir is a group of adults who get together for just two hours a week, and the focus is on singing. We’d be happy to meet your child/pet at a choir social event, but they can cause too much distraction at rehearsals. (Assistance animals are, of course, welcome.)

Does it cost money to join the choir?

We don’t want finances to be a barrier to anyone’s involvement. Everyone pays $5 per year to become a member of the Society. There is a $15 one-time music fee when you first join the choir. (If paying that all at once is a problem, talk to our Treasurer.) The amount you pay on top of that is up to you. The suggested monthly donation is $30, but some people pay less, and some pay more.

Are you a registered charity?

Yes, we are both a non-profit society and a registered charity. Donations can be made through our website, and tax receipts will be issued for all amounts over $20.

How often do you perform?

We have two major concerts a year, usually late January and mid-June.  We also sing at smaller outreach performances every month or two.  We’ve sung at community centres, seniors’ homes, hospitals, fundraisers, and church services, to name a few.  Some years we make an out-of-town trip – the most recent have included Saltspring Island and Sechelt.

Will you come and sing for my group/event?

We do a number of smaller appearances throughout the season, both paid and volunteer. If you’d like to invite us to sing, please contact outinharmony@gmail.com.

Manly Basses

The first time I switched to bass, it was both exciting and uncertain. Exciting because I get to sing differently, and uncertain because I had no idea what I was doing. Being a real trouper, I lingered on, hoping that I didn’t make a bad decision.

One of the songs we did, Vladimir Radian’s version of The Maple Leaf Forever, was for the Vancouver Unison in 2006. The bass part was really low, so I decided to come back up to baritone (or tenor 2). When we sang it at the Chan Centre at UBC, the gorgeous acoustics of the performance hall magnified the opening bass notes into a lovely low rumble that made my spine tingle. I’ve never heard anything so beautiful.

Over the years I’ve gotten so used to singing the low parts that I can project the bass notes. It felt like I’ve grown a lot of hair on my chest though, or as if my Adam’s apple grew bigger. Maybe my brain kept pumping more testosterone in those years I sang bass. Whatever it was, I can say it was the manliest I had ever been.

Nelz A., member since 2006