Welcome to Magee Choirs and Orchestra

Music Notes Winter edition

November 2017

Welcome to our new choir and orchestra website and thank you for coming and taking a peek!

It has been a great start to the year and we have already done so much! The first two months have been getting everything set up for the amazing year we are about to have! In September, the Chamber Choir got off to a fast start as they had their first concert  on September the 22nd at which they performed 5 very difficult songs as part of a concert series that weekend sponsored by the BC Choral Federation. All the proceeds from the concerts that weekend went to the red cross relief fund for the BC Wildfires. Throughout the weekend we were able to raise collectively $12,000 for the red cross!

October was retreat month and concert choir had a great retreat at which 100 members descended upon Shaughnessey Heights Untied Church for our annual retreat there. It was a great day of learning and of getting to know each other better – and super fun and high energy games and activities! Following that, we had our Senior retreat to Whistler with the Chamber Choir and Wind Ensemble. That is one of the best retreats for the start of the year as it is where our top groups really begin to bond with each other and we begin to see the glimmer of greatness and potential that we have for the upcoming year. The Choir portion of it was filled with emotion and by the end of the retreat we felt a real closeness that really distinguishes Magee Choirs from all others as we really form our choir family. The following week, we had day retreats for the String Orchestra and the Evolution Choir. These were great retreats where we also got to know each other in new ways and got a lot of establishment of sound, style and tone. The String Orchestra retreat was very fortunate to have the Borealis String Quartet come to work with us as well as a string bass specialist, Sandy Chen.  Also the Chamber Choir was treated to a fabulous workshop with our dear friend from Vachon Island near Seattle, Ms. Dinah Helgeson. Dinah worked with us from 4-9pm and we had a marvelous evening of just singing and bonding and having Dinah inspire us with her special brand of musical love.

And then we are into November and it is concert season from here on til Winter Break! Our first concert will be on Tuesday November 7th at 7pm –  our annual Ryerson Fine Arts Fall Concert at Ryerson United Church (45th Ave and Yew St.). This is our first major concert of the year at which all of our major groups will perform including Concert Choir, Symphonic Band, Evolution Choir, String Orchestra, Magee Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Chamber Choir. It is a great evening of music that will be sure to excite and please your senses. Admission is by donation and all proceeds go toward Ryerson/Magee Music Scholarships for grade 12 students. In the past we have raised $1000 at this concert from which 4 grade 12 students received $250 at the end of the year.

Then two days later, the music department will be heavily involved in the Magee Remembrance Day ceremonies in block’s 2,3 & 4 on November 9th.

The Bands will have some VSB district festivals: First, Magee will host the Sr Concert Band Festival on the 15th at 6:30pm and that will involve the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. The next day on the 16th will be the Jazz band festival at Point Grey at 6pm, and that will involve Magee’s Junior and Senior Jazz band. And finally for the bands, on the 21st is the Junior Concert Band festival at Eric Hamber Seconday at 6:30pm and that will involve the Magee Intermediate Band.

On Saturday the 18th, the chamber choir will be singing a special concert with the Vancouver Peace Choir at St John’s Anglican in the downtown east side. This will be a beautiful concert at which Eric Hamber as well as the Richmond Youth Honour Choir will be singing at too. The Concert begins at 7pm and will be a very different and moving concert.

The Magee Orchestra Department will also once again host our Annual Stringvitational on Tuesday the 21st at 7pm in our Magee Auditorium. At this great event, we will feature our String Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra as well as our guest schools, Jamieson Elementary and Killarney Secondary. And to top it all off, this year’s special professional guests will be the incredible Infinitus Trio, the trio with the mad skills of beatboxing and playing strings! That will be super exciting!

And finally for November, the Choral Department will host our second annual Magee Chamber Choir Invitational Festival. At this wonderful event, we will have schools from all over the lower mainland: St. Thomas More Collegiate Chamber Choir, Polaris from North Surrey Secondary, and Mountain Secondary Chamber Choir, as well as Magee’s Chamber Choir of course! The special thing about this festival is each group gets ½ hour on stage to sing as long as they want and then have our adjudicator come up and fill the remaining time with a customized clinic on stage. This year’s adjudicator is the fabulous Gerald Van Wyck, who is currently director of choral activities at Vancouver Community College.


Then December is big concert time for the Chamber Choir in particular! It all kicks off with our annual Christmas service at St. Stephens on Sunday the 10th at 10:30am – we have a special relationship with St Stephen’s and are so excited to be there again. Next is our annual Seniors Tea which takes place on the 12th at 1:30pm-2:30pm. This event has been going on for over 40 years and it is a great community building event where we invited senior citizens from all over to come and have some tea and goodies and hear some fabulous music from the Wind Ensemble and the Chamber Choir. Two days later, the Chamber Choir will sing for the Ryerson United Church Senior Luncheon and then two days later we perform on Saturday evening with the fabulous Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir at Shaughnessy Heights United Church. The next week are our final concerts of the season, the Little Night Music Orchestra on Monday, and then our own Junior Christmas and Senior Christmas concerts on Tuesday and Thursday. And somewhere in there, the Chamber Choir will do a singing tour of the local elementary schools as well! So December is packed for concerts and spreading holiday cheer!

Also don’t forget to pick up your Poinsettias on December 7th in the Rotunda from 2:30-4pm and your Purdy’s Chocolate orders on December 14th in the Choir room from 2:30-3:30pm.

We hope to see you at one or more of our events and we wish you warmth, love and happiness throughout your life, but especially through the next two months!

Thank you for your continued support of the Magee Music Department!


Greg Quan

Artistic Director of Choirs and Orchestra