VIVALDI CHAMBER CHOIR HANDBOOK
To foster a sense of community, inclusion, and personal achievement
through choral excellence, outreach, and a diverse repertoire in a
safe and nurturing environment
HISTORY AND OVERVIEW
The Vivaldi Chamber Choir came into existence through the inspiration of Rita Radzikowski who founded the choir in 1989. In 1991, it was incorporated under the B.C. Society Act as “The Greater Vancouver Vivaldi Chamber Choir Society” and registered as a charity with the Federal Government.
Rita Radzikowski was the first Conductor and Artistic Director, later being joined by Peter Dent as Co-Conductor in 1994. David Millard took over as Artistic Director in 1999 and held the position until June 2013. Three guest conductors led the choir in the 2013-14 season followed by Sarit Aloni as Artistic Director for the 2014-15 season. In 2015, Edette Gagné took over the helm as Artistic Director.
The concert season usually starts the first Monday after Labour Day and runs until early June, with the season being broken down into 3 terms, each one culminating in a concert program. Although the prime focus is on rehearsals and concerts, the choir also engages in outreach activities such as benefit concerts, appearances at residential care homes and community public venues.
Much of the running of the choir is done on a volunteer basis. Members are encouraged to help where they can by serving on the Board, participating in outreach and fundraising activities, and taking on various jobs.
Membership is by audition arranged between the singer and the Artistic Director. Those passing the initial audition will be on probation for one month, after which they will either be accepted or required to re-audition at a later date.
The membership fee is set by the Board at the start of each season. As of September 2019 the fee is $250 for the season payable by November 1st or $85 per term due November 1st and early in the 2nd and 3rd terms. New members do not pay the fee until they have passed the probation period. Those not able to participate in all three terms should inform the Artistic Director as soon as possible.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The general management of the choir rests with a Board of Directors elected by the membership at the AGM. Board decisions set policy for the business of maintaining and managing the choir and approving expenses. It is responsible for hiring and releasing staff, setting staff responsibilities and salaries, filing government reports, keeping records, promoting concerts, selling advertisement space, applying for grants and appointing committees. The Board works closely with the Artistic Director and the Concert Producer. It approves concert themes presented by the Artistic Director for the upcoming season and signs off on concert details by term. Meetings are held every 4 to 5 weeks and are open to anyone.
The Bylaws of the Greater Vancouver Chamber Choir Society were certified under the Societies Act of British
Columbia on May 20th, 2018. The Bylaws set out terms of membership, the role of Directors and the conduct of meetings.
The Artistic Director is appointed by the Board and attends Board meetings when requested to report on artistic direction. Duties include conducting the choir in concerts and rehearsals, holding auditions, selecting section leads, soloists and instrumentalists, directing music acquisition and planning concert repertoire. Members are invited to suggest specific pieces of music, but the final decision rests with the Artistic Director with subsequent sign-off by the Board.
The Artistic Director may appoint and mentor a choir member to be an Assistant Conductor who will be given responsibility for conducting one or two pieces in a concert and for leading sectionals.
The Concert Producer is appointed by the Board, attends Board meetings when requested and works closely with the Artistic Director and the Board. Duties are many and include ensuring the smooth operation of rehearsals and concerts, finding and booking venues, assisting with finding guest artists, sources of music and concert-related equipment, and liaising with guest artists.
Section Leaders are appointed by the Artistic Director. Their role is to provide musical leadership and support for their section, to sing solos when requested and to provide a conduit through which communication can pass between the section and the Artistic Director. The Section Leader will also note attendance and report known absences to the Artistic Director. In addition, the tenor section has an Assistant Section Lead.
Members must report known upcoming absences to their Section Leader as far ahead as possible and to report last-minute unavoidable absences prior to rehearsal. If the Artistic Director feels an individual has missed too many rehearsals to perform adequately in the concert, he/she may ask the member either to demonstrate knowledge of the music to the Artistic Director’s satisfaction or to miss the concert.
Weekly rehearsals are on Mondays from 7:30 to 9:40 pm at St. Helen’s Church, 4405 West 8th Ave., Vancouver. Members are asked to arrive in sufficient time before 7:30pm to help with set up and be ready to sing at 7:30pm. Sometimes longer or additional rehearsals may be called.
Dress rehearsals (- concert dress not required -) are scheduled according to venue availability. Attendance at the dress rehearsal is required for a member to sing in the concert unless prior arrangements have been made with the Artistic Director well in advance.
At the beginning of term, members receive a package of music in a folder with their assigned number. The folder is to be returned so the Music Librarian can distribute more music in subsequent weeks. The Librarian will direct members as to which music can be marked lightly in pencil and must be returned after the concert (with markings erased) and which music can be kept. Please take special care with music borrowed from another source.
Members are expected to learn their music at home so rehearsals can focus on musical dimensions rather than note-learning. Early in the term, the Artistic Director will provide electronic files and youtube links for posting on the website so members can work independently at home.
Men: Black shirts and trousers, black dress shoes and black socks
Women: Long black skirt or dressy pants, black top with ¾ or full length sleeves (or short sleeves if heat is an issue), black hose and black shoes, with subtle jewelry as appropriate to the season or venue. Choir scarves, for which newcomers pay a small returnable deposit, will be supplied before most concerts and must be returned after the concert.
Black binders or folders
NO perfume, aftershave, scented deodorants, scented hairspray, hair conditioners, or any other perfumey scents.
Tickets will be available at later rehearsals, and members are urged to sell as many as possible.
Membership lists will be issued soon after the beginning of the season and whenever significant changes have occurred. Members should notify the President of any change in contact information.
The Vivaldi Chamber Choir is a registered charity. Receipts for income tax purposes will be issued for all contributions of $20.00 or more.
The choir’s website, www.vivaldichoir.org, contains important information for the public and our members. Please check it regularly for updates and new information. To enter the Members Section:
username is Antonio and password is 4Seasons! – exactly as written with the exclamation mark.
Soprano Section Leader:
Name: Catherine Crouch
Alto Section Leader:
Name: Maria Golas
Tenor Section Leader:
Name: Steve Froese
Bass Section Leader:
Name: Byron Hanson
(Handbook last updated – Jan. 21, 2021)