KATHLEEN ALLAN, Director of Choral Studies
CAROLINE JANG, Head Vocal Coach
VAM’s Mary Buckerfield White Choral Program is Vancouver’s premiere choral experience for singers of all ages. Exploring repertoire from all regions, periods, and genres, VAM’s choirs perform at the highest level in a joyful and exploratory learning environment. The choirs regularly join forces with VAM’s renowned instrumental, orchestral, and vocal theatre departments to perform choral-orchestral, chamber, and staged works in addition to a cappella choral repertoire. While working towards each performance, the unique rehearsal process incorporates:
- Ear training based on RCM requirements
- Ensemble musicianship
- Vocal Technique
- Historical context of the repertoire
- Physics of sound and singing
- Music theory
*required before registration
Program start date: September 2016
Suggested age: 8-12*
Kits Point Chorale is the introductory ensemble of the Mary Buckerfield White Choral Program and introduces fundamental singing technique and ensemble musicianship skills. Repertoire spans across cultures and genres and challenges choristers to broaden their understanding of music and its context in the world, always maintaining the highest standard of performance excellence. Rehearsals draw from methods of Orff, Kodaly, and RCM ear training. The Chorale performs unison, two- and three-part treble repertoire.
Suggested age: 13-18*
Raincity Chorus is an ensemble of experienced young musicians who wish to push the boundaries of choral performance and explore the vast array of treble repertoire from around the world and throughout history. Members are encouraged to think creatively about music and culture and to work collaboratively towards presenting the repertoire in relevant and exciting performances. Rehearsals place strong focus on vocal technique and ensemble musicianship. Some music reading skills are required. Raincity Chorus performs primarily three- and four-part treble repertoire.
*Young men with changed voices who wish to train their falsetto under the guidance of VAM’s vocal faculty are welcome to remain in the treble ensembles. In consultation with the director, they may also opt to sing in one of the mixed-voice choirs.
Suggested age: 18+
Vanier Park Voices is VAM’s choir of adults who wish to pursue their love of choral music with an open mind and a desire for challenge. Performances take a variety of forms: collaboration with instrumental ensembles, a cappella performance, and semi-staged works with movement. Rehearsals include time for the development of musicianship skills including ear training, vocal technique, music literacy, and ensemble singing. While some music experience is an asset, varying degrees of ability to read music are welcome. Vanier Park Voices performs mixed-voice repertoire spanning all cultures and eras.
Suggested age: 15+
VAM Schola Cantorum is the elite chamber ensemble of the Mary Buckerfield White Choral Program and performs challenging repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque periods in addition to 20th- and 21st-century compositions. Rehearsals are fast-paced and designed for pre-professional and semi-professional singers. Schola Cantorum will appear in regular performances throughout the year in addition to being featured in the VAM Choral Program regular season concerts. Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 16 singers. Sight-reading skills, good vocal technique, and previous choral experience are required.
About Mary Buckerfield White
Born in Vancouver, BC, Mary Buckerfield White was the only child of Amy and Ernest Buckerfield. Mary graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1947 in Honours English and worked in East Berlin for UBC shortly after the end of WWII, assisting German students to come and study in BC. Music played an important part of her life: her mother was one of the founders and life presidents of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO). Her husband Victor, whom she met in London, UK, was General Manager of the VSO while Mary hosted dinners among other events for visiting artists. Aside from music, Mary’s varied interests included photography, gardening, decoupage, calligraphy, and compiling a chronicle of her life’s events into her book, “Buckerfield: The Story of a Vancouver Family”.