History & Performance Profile

David leads an al fresco Christmas recital An "away mission" outside Capers on 4th: Christmas 2004
Photo credit: Alan Ryder

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Rita Radzikowski is the founder of the Vivaldi Chamber Choir and acted as its conductor and music director for many years. The choir was initially based in Burnaby, B.C. and received its incorporation under the Society Act in 1991 as "The Greater Vancouver Vivaldi Chamber Choir Society." As interest in the group grew and membership in the choir began to reflect its regional nature, the rehearsal centre and typical performance venue moved to Vancouver.

In 1994 Peter Dent who had joined the choir as a baritone in 1992 became co-conductor and over succeeding seasons took on greater responsibilty for the group's artistic growth; by 1994 Peter was the Music Director and conductor of the Vivaldi Chamber Choir. Everyone was delighted that Rita continued sing with the choir in the soprano section as she did until 2003. Peter's other interests in the musical world led to his wish to relinquish the post in 1998 and David Millard was appointed to the position of Artistic Director. After 14 successful seasons David indicated to the Board his intention to relinquish the post and a search committee was struck to seek a new Artistic Director. We are delighted that David maintains a relationship with the choir as concert accompanist and of course his many compositions and arrangements remain in the choir's repertoire. Some of these compositions are available for download from his Choral Wiki page.

Five candidates were interviewed and auditioned with the choir. Just two were shortlisted to prepare and conduct a performance during the then upcoming season. As a result Sarit Aloni was appointed to the position. The Search Committee is very grateful to all those whose applications were considered. Sarit's first full season begins with our Christmas 2014 Concert Joyful Light which features Morten Lauridsen's "Lux Aeterna."

What we sing

The choir performs music from all musical periods ranging from the medieval to the modern era, and in many different languages, such as English, Latin, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Finnish, Czech, Persian, Armenian, Church Slavonic, and Canadian native languages. In keeping with the multicultural nature of the Greater Vancouver area, a number of concerts have been presented for special ethnic audiences. In recent years these have included: Persian music for the Roudaki Cultural Foundation at the Vancouver Museum Auditorium, ancient Armenian church music for the Armenian community at Holy Rosary Cathedral, Tchaikovsky's "Cherubic Hymns" in Church Slavonic for the Russian community at the Russian Hall in Vancouver, and excerpts from Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas for the British community at churches in Vancouver and North Vancouver. Our last concert of the current season will be a joint concert of Armenian music with the Luys Quintet from Armenia on June 2, 2004, at Kerrisdale Presbyterian Church. Many of the choir's concerts have featured works by Canadian contemporary composers, and the group particularly enjoys presenting works by three former or current members of our choir, Peter Dent, Earle Peach, and David Millard.

In the Community

In the 22 years of its existence, concerts have been presented at numerous venues in the Greater Vancouver area, including the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, Brackendale, and White Rock. Most of the venues have been churches, but others have included the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood House, the Russian Hall, and the Carnegie Centre in Vancouver, and the Shadbolt Arts Centre in Burnaby. The choir has also presented joint concerts with the St. Andrew's Wesley United Church Choir and several times with the Vancouver Community College Madrigal Singers. The choir is, of course, involved in fund raising efforts for its own account but sometimes also on behalf of others. In addition to revenues from our concerts and CD sales, choir members have been involved in garage sales, benefit dinners, auctions of items and services donated by businesses and individuals. Two such events were carried out at "Myles of Beans" in Burnaby, and a "silent auction" at one of our benefit dinners. The group has also benefited from paid engagements at shopping centers in the Greater Vancouver area.In 1996, as a result of such efforts, the Greater Vancouver Vivadi Chamber Choir Society was able to make a donation of $5000 to the Burnaby Arts Council Capital Campaign Fund for the building of the Shadbolt Arts Centre. In appreciation, we were asked on two occasions by the Burnaby Arts Council to perform in the newly completed Centre. The Roudaki Cultural Foundation has also asked us to perform Persian music on at least four occasions.

Most of our concerts revolve around a central theme or a religious or secular occasion for example, the first day of Spring, Good Friday, Easter, Hallowe'en, or Christmas. In particular our annual Christmas concerts have become quite popular and are usually presented to capacity audiences. On Good Friday, 1996, the Vivaldi Chamber Choir gave the North American premier of the Johannes Passion by Johannes Weyrauch at the United Church in West Vancouver. Manfred Schneider, a proponent of Weyrauch's music, traveled all the way from Dresden, Germany, to conduct the performance. We have also performed at weddings and other special occasions such as a benefit concert in aid of the victims of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 at the SFU Harbour Centre campus. The members of the choir were delighted to sing at Rita Radzikowski's wedding in Peace Arch Park during the summer of 2005.

The Sopranos and Altos of the choir were invited to sing at one of a series of concerts that were held at St James' Anglican Church to celebrate the 125th anniversary of that parish's foundation. The performance, featured several choirs and soloists, was held on Sunday, October 29th, 2006. The Vivaldi choir's programme included "Birds' Lullaby" and "New Brunswick" by the Canadian-Latvian composer Janis Kanins. This concert formed part of the "Heart of the City" festival held in that year

The choir has performed regularly at The Roundhouse "Urban Craft Fair" and has put on Christmas time recitals at St. Judes Anglican Home and the George Pearson Centre for the past few years, to the considerable enjoyment of residents, patients and staff. Choir members have also been delighted to present seasonal music at the Van Dusen Gardens Festival of Lights

For more on our current community actiivities please visit our Outreach page