News of the Wavelengths Spring 2023 Season!
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. Rehearsals are Monday evenings 7:00 – 9:00.
After over two years of holding rehearsals and concerts online, Denis is excited to let everyone know that in-person rehearsals will resume on Monday evening Feb.20, at our venue, the Unitarian Church, 5575 W. Saanich Rd.
There will be Orientation Sessions for anyone new to the choir during the first two Mondays, from 6:40 to 7:00. There we will be able to meet you and share some background about how we operate, what our values are, and various other things.
New and returning members are welcome! For more information, please call our Registrar Jo at this number: 250.727.2605 or email her: r[email protected]. Jo will be very happy to help you!
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
Registration information for the new Fall 2022 Season will be posted here.
Based in Brentwood Bay, 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.
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
Our new Registrar!
As of Feb.10, 2022, our new Registrar is Jo Volek. If you have questions about how to join Wavelengths, how to pay choir fees, or similar things, Jo is the one to talk with. Those interested in participating are asked to contact registrar Jo Volek at 250 727-2605 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 Ambassadors 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.”
After a vibrant 20-year run, Soundings Vocal Ensemble has been discontinued by its director, Denis Donnelly.
The Gettin'Higher Choir
For information about the Gettin’ Higher Choir, directed by Cathy Baker and Dick Jackson, please: www.gettinhigherchoir.ca