Wavelengths is a non-auditioned community choir performing a wide range of music, founded in 2018 by its director, Denis Donnelly. It draws its participants from all over the Greater Victoria region including the Saanich Peninsula.
The current season of Wavelengths will begin on September 21, 2020, and will conclude with an on-line concert on Jan.30. Due to the current pandemic, weekly rehearsals will be held on-line 7:30 – 9:00 on the Zoom platform (https://zoom.us/). Further information is below in the “Registration and Fees” section.
Wavelengths enthusiastically welcomes all who wish to participate in the joyful experience of singing in harmony with others. No previous singing experience or any technical knowledge of music is required.
Members of the choir are highly diverse in age and in background. Some have been singing all their lives and can read music fairly well, while for others, this will be the first time in their adult lives that they have participated in singing in group harmony. We understand that people come with varying backgrounds in singing, and so, especially in the first few weeks of each session, there will be some short songs that are easy to pick up aurally, while we will also slowly introduce some of the repertoire that will be performed in the concerts.
Every effort will be made to make newcomers feel welcome, by such things as assisting people with placement in their section, slowly introducing musical concepts, and providing explanation of the sheet music that will be made available.
Registration & Fees
Special Announcement regarding the Fall 2021 Season
Given the rising number of COVID cases in our area, we have come to the decision that, for the upcoming season, we will be combining Wavelengths Community Choir (WCC) and the Gettin’ Higher Choir into one choir, called “The Higher Waves Choir”.
This combined choir will start the season, and continue for as long as is necessary. Note that for the duration of this situation, all rehearsals will be online, on Zoom. These will be offered on Monday evenings, as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays. Singers will be able to attend any session, as the same material will be taught on all nights in a given week.
So that all our singers will always have a “real” voice to learn with, Cathy, Dick, Denis and Lynne (Denis’s wife) will be together online Mondays and Tuesdays. On Thursdays, Cathy and Dick will lead the session, augmented by the best recordings from the Monday and Tuesday sessions. All registered singers will also be welcome to Dick and Cathy’s Wednesday Evening Sing-Ins (see below).
This configuration will last for as long as necessary. If and when we feel confident to safely return to some degree of in-person singing (October? November?), we know that the tech that we have set up for “hybrid” rehearsals (some singers in person, some on Zoom) will work well, so we should be able to transition seamlessly to that when the time comes. At that time, WCC would continue on Mondays, and GHC on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Our Fall Season begins on Tuesday, Sept. 21 online, using Zoom:
- Mondays 7:00–8:45pm Pacific time,
- Tuesdays 7:00–8:45pm Pacific time and
- Thursdays 7:30–9:15pm Pacific time
Normally former Wavelengths members will register for the Monday sessions.
We will learn songs for an anticipated concert in late January, and do much more whole-hearted, uplifting singing! Choir members are also welcome to our Wednesday evening Sing-In events (see below). Since our practices and concert are fully accessible online, we are able to welcome singers from around the world—try us out, and spread the word!
At this point we have completed our orientation weeks and the choir is on-going. If you are interested in joining late, please contact the directed, Denis Donnelly, here.
There are two 17- or 18-week seasons per year, starting in February and September. We host a concert at the end of each season, the proceeds of which go to support local and international causes.
The Fall 2021 season will wrap up with a benefit concert planned for late January 2022, details and date to be announced.
Choir fees are $175 for the season, with a sliding scale discount, as needed. As a member-supported choir, we ask that members pay the full fee if possible. If you need a discounted fee, we ask you to decide where on the sliding scale you fit based on your knowledge of your own finances and then let us know. Payment plans and even partial or full bursaries are also available as needed. Our bottom line is that no one misses choir because of money.
Further details and payments may be made by contacting Wavelengths Registrar Laura Cook.
Concert is planned for the end of January, 20211 Details will be announced later.
Based in Victoria, BC, Denis is an experienced and multi-talented musician whose love affair with music has taken him in many creative directions over the years, as a singer, instrumentalist, arranger, composer, and conductor. For the past 20 years his main focus has been on choral music, for which he has drawn upon his diverse background with different genres and traditions, from folk to classical, and from Medieval to contemporary, as well as a life-long study of poetry, for inspiration and repertoire.
Denis developed his skills on piano and guitar at an early age, and became deeply involved in the folk music scene during the 1960’s, where he discovered his passion for singing in harmony. However, it was his participation in his high school choir, under the direction of Jim Johnson (a BC Choral Federation Herbert Drost award recipient in 2003) that was the pivotal experience in his life. He went on to graduate from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Music degree. Following graduation Denis went on to work at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, becoming its Director in 1985. After overseeing the Conservatory’s purchase, renovation, and move to its current home in the former Metropolitan United Church in 1999, he left to pursue his own musical interests.
From 1999 through to 2018, Denis was the arranger, as well as co-director with Siobhan Robinsong, of the 250+ voice Gettin’ Higher Choir, a non-auditioned, community choir. He has also been their main accompanist, playing guitar, piano, or Celtic harp, for pieces requiring instrumental back-up. In 2005, Denis and Siobhan developed the annual and highly influential and successful Community Choir Leadership Training program, which has led to the creation of the Ubuntu Choirs Network (50+ choirs and growing), a network of non-auditioned, community-based, and socially responsible choirs and singing groups all over North America, all based on the principles of inclusivity and joyful community singing.
In 2001, Denis founded the auditioned 26-voice ensemble Soundings in order to explore a highly eclectic mix of choral music from many genres and traditions more suitable for a small group. He weaves a variety of traditional and lesser known choral works with his own arrangements and compositions to craft programs that are both innovative and entertaining, and which give Soundings a distinctive place in the Victoria vocal community.
Very active as an arranger, Denis’s arrangements and compositions are in frequent use in both Soundings and the Gettin’ Higher Choir, as well as throughout North America, especially within the Ubuntu Choirs Network. His web site www.choralsongs.com has music appropriate for a wide range of choral groups, from simple and easily-taught rounds and chants to more complex arrangements suitable for concert performance.
In June of 2010, Denis was the recipient of the Herbert Drost Award, presented by the British Columbia Choral Federation, “in recognition of his work, dedication and contributions which have provided positive long-term effects on the British Columbia choral community”.
In May of 2018 Denis was awarded a Greater Victoria Community Leadership Award by the Lieutenant-Governor at Government House. Denis was also honoured as an Honorary Citizen of Victoria by the Mayor and Council in a ceremony at Victoria City Hall in July of 2018.
Our Team & Contacts
Laura is our Registrar and handles everything related to registration and fees. If you have questions about how to join Wavelengths, how to pay choir fees, or similar things, Laura is the one to see. Those interested in participating are asked to contact registrar Laura Cook at 250 508-8811 or [email protected] for further information.
Any questions about repertoire or concerns of a musical nature should be directed to the director here: [email protected]
Marilyn is our Music Coordinator. Marilyn and her assistants will hand out all the printed music. If you are missing some music, Marilyn is the one to see.
The Choir Contacts are two people in each section who are available to greet new members, answer questions, and generally make sure that everyone is comfortable in their sections. If you have questions, please feel free to ask one of them!
The Ubuntu Choir Network
Wavelengths is a member of the Ubuntu Choirs Network, a network of affiliated choirs throughout North America and the Pacific Rim, whose directors have participated in, and graduated from, the Community Choir Leadership Training program. This course is held for two weeks annually under the directorship of Denis Donnelly, Cathy Baker, and Dick Jackson (Co-Founder Siobhan Robinsong is enjoying semi-retirement). Their common goals are to be non-auditioned, have an aural rather than a “paper” approach to repertoire learning, and to be socially responsible by donating funds to worthwhile causes.
Ubuntu is a Zulu word which translates as “I am because we are” or “I exist as a person only in relationship to other people”. A wonderful image for a choir!
As Ubuntu is an African word, we did not want to be using it inappropriately, so we consulted with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He wrote back and said: “I am, because you are. A choir is a choir only because its different parts work together harmoniously. Yes, a person truly is a person only through other persons. God bless you in your noble endeavour.”
Soundings is a vibrant and intimate auditioned 26-voice ensemble choir directed by Denis Donnelly that delights its audiences with a highly eclectic mix of vocal choral music, from Medieval through to contemporary works, most of which is performed a capella and off-book. We take pride in presenting tightly rehearsed programs and creating a strong connection with our audiences. Concerts are always an entertaining and enchanting journey through the world of choral music.