Get your books here!

We have a variety of RCM and Suzuki books available for a range of instruments and levels, as well as Orff, Kodaly, Theory and more. Come to the VAM Gift Shop on the 2nd floor and buy your materials for the upcoming school year.

For a full list of what we carry, check out our 2014-15 Book List.

Welcome to the 2014/15 School Year!

The 2014/15 year is starting next week. Are you ready?

If you have not yet registered for the 2014/15 school year, we encourage you to do so before school starts (find out our summer office hours here or start the online registration process here). If you’re coming to visit us in person, make sure you have the following ready:

  • Times and days of classes you want
  • Confirmed lesson time with your private lesson teacher
  • EXACT cash or cheque

This will ensure a speedy registration and help us help you better!

Class Info

All VAM classes and lessons will start the week of Tuesday, September 2nd. The following classes and teachers will start the week of Monday, September 8th:

  • Bach Babies
  • Mozart Mites
  • Rossini Rascals
  • Lessons and classes with Evelyn Creaser
  • Lessons and classes with Mary Thomson
  • Lessons and classes with Judy Fraser will start on Saturday, September 6th.

Please check with your teacher for more details.

Welcome back!

New Orchestra level!

Calling all string players ages 5-7 who want to experience the thrill of playing on a team! Led by DeAnne Eisch (Suzuki Violin Head, VAM Junior Symphony director), VAM’s newest orchestra, Pre-Junior Symphony (affectionately known as the PJ’s) is the perfect ensemble for violin, viola and cellists at Suzuki books 2-4 or RCM grades 1-3. PJ’s will cover the basics (note-reading, feeling the beat, following the composer’s instructions) providing students with the joy of playing in a group and forming musical friendships. Come take your first step onto the Orpheum stage!

VAM Pre-Junior Symphony
5:00-6:00, Koerner Recital Hall
With VAM Private lessons: $130
Standalone: $260 (does not include registration fee)

Contact the front office at (604) 734-2301 or go here to register your child today!

6 Questions with Dora Brooks

For our last interview with our Leading Ladies, we were happy to take a few minutes of Dora Brooks’ time to chat about her roles and her history with opera. Dora is an alumni of our College Program, where she completed her Artist Diploma and Bachelor of Music degress in Voice Performance with David Meek. She’s been the recipient of many prestigious scholarships and bursaries, and has most recently received a generous award from the Vancouver Opera Guild. She’ll be singing the role of Angelica in Suor Angelica.

If you’ve enjoyed these interviews, why not come down and check out their talent in person? Buy tickets for Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi here.

What do you enjoy most about singing Suor Angelica?

I love this role very much, for many reasons. What I most enjoy, though, is the build of the character arc, both musically and dramatically. She’s a very real and honest character and her music is gorgeous.

Favourite scene from Suor Angelica and why?

Suor Angelica is my favorite Puccini opera, so it’s hard to pick just one scene. I guess I’d pick the end of the opera from la Principessa’s entrance on. It’s considered two scenes, but the first flows so well into the second, and it feels like one extended scene. So much happens in such a short time- from joy to heart break to loss of reason to a miracle and more. Performing it is emotionally draining in the best way. This section also contains Senza Mamma, which is one of my favorite arias. The music is glorious in this whole section.

What should the audience listen or look for when they come to watch the production?

In both operas we have people singing from off-stage. It’s particularly effective in Suor Angelica during the miracle. I heard it for the first time last night and it’s so very much better than I’ve ever heard done; I’ve actually performed in Suor Angelica twice before. One time the chorus actually sang from the choir loft up in the rafters of the curch we were performing at. This sounds even more amazing than that! It’s also the first time you will hear any male voices. As for things to look for, there are a seemingly infinite number of small details to see, as directed by Jeanine Fynn. For example, I’ve watched a bunch of rehearsals of Gianni Schicchi and I’m still noticing more. But I won’t tell you what they are- that would spoil the fun!

What’s your favourite part of the productions?

Again, how to choose? The most overall would be singing the role of Suor Angelica. When I first started singing opera I thought it was a role I’d never have a chance to sing. Which was sad for me since it’s one of my favorites. I’m very happy that things have changed so that I can. I’ve also enjoyed learning new things through the process of costuming the production. One of the things I love about both singing and costuming is that there’s always something new to learn- I love being challenged.

How did you get into opera?

I only ever sang a couple opera arias before I started at the Academy. I had been training for about ten years as a classical and musical theatre singer, but I was too young for opera. I’d not been exposed to very much of it, either. That changed when I started at VAM right out of high school and discovered that I could sing opera. I very quickly fell head-over-heels in love with it and now I can’t imagine going without!

What have you enjoyed the most during your experience at VAM?

I’ve been at the Academy first as a college student, now as a private student. I’ve loved how many performances there are for the opera program throughout the year. Any chance to perform and develope my craft makes me happy. Working with David Meek and the other fabulous people he’s brought in to work with us
(John Arsenault and Jeanine Fynn for example) has been a treat.

Finally, any last words?

I think that if you’re new to opera, or aren’t sure about it, that this would be a good show to check out. These two operas are so different from each other that there’s a little bit for everyone to enjoy. Whether you like drama, tragedy or comedy we have you covered. Prefer under-handed trickery? Done. Familial tension? Ok. Simple joy at a beam of sunlight turning a fountain’s water golden? Yes. Physical comedy? We have that, too. I’ve had such a great time working on this show and I’d love to share it with people. That’s one of the best parts!

Dora Brooks

Dora Brooks

6 Questions with Melissa Bideau

For the third part in our special interview series, we’ll be interviewing the first of our two Angelicas, Melissa Bideau. Melissa is a 4th year Voice Performance Major, studying with David Meek. If you’re a frequent attendee of our Orpheum Series, you may recognize her from her beautiful performance at our recent Showcase Concert. Here’s her answers below!
What do you enjoy most about singing Angelica?
I love this character so much. The music is so deep and beautiful and i get to explore such a wonderful range of emotions with Angelica. 
Favourite scene from Suor Angelica and why?
The scene between Suor Angelica and her aunt. This is where you really begin to understand Suor Angelica and the conversation they have pulls you in for the rest of the Opera. 
What should the audience listen or look for when they come to watch the production?
Listen to how Puccini’s music grabs your heart as he fully expresses the emotions in the music. 
What’s your favourite part of the productions?
They are both so different. I think that is what makes them so good together. The listeners will be taken on a journey through tears and laughter. 
How did you get into opera?
I grew up in a musical family and played the violin for quite a few years. I’ve always loved being on stage and when I saw my first opera at the age of 17 I knew that was what I wanted to do.
What have you enjoyed the most during your experience at VAM?
I love the close relationships that I have with my teachers and peers. Everyone is so supportive and has greatly contributed to my growth as a musician and as a person. 

Finally, any last words?

This has been such a wonderful experience for me as this is my first major role. I am so grateful for everyone that I have been able to work with and it’s going to be a really good show. Please come share in this beautiful music and wonderful experience. 

Melissa Bideau

Melissa Bideau

2014 Kay Meek Competition Results

On Friday, June 6th, we had 6 young musicians compete for the chance to perform as a soloist with VAMSO for the 2015 Showcase Concert. Many thanks to our adjudicator, Kemuel Wong!

Kay Meek Winner – Grace Sohn, cello
Eva Bene Scholarship – Saul Domingos-Morales, guitar
Alice Diane Bray Memorial Scholarship – Katrina Goh, soprano
Dr. Alex Drennan Scholarship – Sharon Xiao Han Yang, piano
Beckie McDonald Stewart Scholarship – Sa Rang (Diana) Kim, violin
Provincial Chapter, IODE Scholarship – Tian Fei, piano

Congratulations to Grace Sohn, who will perform in May 2015! Congratulations to all our finalists, and to those who participated in preliminaries!

6 Questions with Katrin Pöemmerl

For the second part of our leading lady-interview series, we’re happy to present our second Lauretta for Gianni Schicchi, Katrin Pöemmerl. If you’re a student at VAM, you would recognize this face – in addition to being a 3rd year Voice Performance Major in our College program, Katrin (affectionately known as Kati) is also a Kodaly teacher and theory tutor. Enjoy the interview below!

What do you enjoy most about singing Lauretta?

I am singing the role of Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and I could not be more thrilled about it. It is the first time I get to sing a main role in a fully staged opera and the entire process for me has been very exciting. I love singing so much! Singing comes from within. Your body is your instrument and for me there is nothing as rewarding as telling a story through singing and touching the audience with your own voice!

Favourite scene from Gianni Schicchi and why?

Ah, there are so many! I love the very beginning, when the relatives are looking for the will. It’s pure chaos; they get to throw papers around on stage, have pillow fights. It is so much fun. I also like when the doctor Spinelloccio comes in and Gianni Schicchi changes his voice and pretends to be Buoso Donati. It is a very fun scene to watch.

What should the audience listen or look for when they come to watch the production?

Notice all the actions in the background during the big crowd scenes. Even if there are 2 or 3 singers in front, every single person on stage has his or her own staging directions. It adds so many layers to the story we are telling in Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. Betto, for example, keeps stealing items around the house in Gianni Schicchi. Notice how he stuffs his pockets with jewelry, money, books and even a candle.

What’s your favourite part of the productions?

It is hard for me to narrow it down to only one part. I think what I love the most is seeing all the different parts that make up the production come together. That first time you get to rehearse with orchestra, in costume, with the proper set is so special for me. It adds a whole new level.

How did you get into opera?

I started singing in choirs when I was in elementary school, but I never thought of studying opera. I had my first operatic voice lesson when I was 20 and I fell in love with it during my first lesson. The more I learned about opera, the stronger I felt about it. And now I can’t get enough of it.

What have you enjoyed the most during your experience at VAM?

Doing opera productions at VAM is more than just a school production. Besides getting very good instruction and direction from the artistic team, you also get shaped as a professional musician. They prepare you for professional engagements because our directors and conductor are themselves industry professionals. Not to mention, VAM is a very encouraging environment and since the opera studio is rather small, you get lots of opportunities to take on roles that challenge you and that help you grow.

Finally, any last words?

This upcoming production of Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi is a very good way to give opera a try, if you do not have a lot of experience with it yet. You get both, a drama and a comedy. Very different music, lots of different singers and there is something for everyone. And kids are going to LOVE it! Our stage director is brilliant. She built in so much humour and comedic elements. It’s impossible not to laugh out loud.

Katrin Poemmerl

Presenting…the School of Swing!

The Vancouver Academy of Music is pleased to introduce its newest program, the Dal Richards School of Swing!

Directed by Ellen Marple, the School of Swing consists of both a Jazz Orchestra and an Introduction to Swing Class. The Jazz Orchestra will focus on building an intimate understanding of classic repertoire from the Count Basie and Ellington libraries but will also serve to introduce students to more contemporary styles like that of Stan Kenton and Thad Jones. Students will be given ample opportunity to develop their improvisational skills and will also receive coachings within their sections from fantastic Vancouver musicians. For students who are not quite ready to join the Jazz Orchestra, the Introduction to Swing class offers the space to learn about style and improvisation at a more relaxed pace in the context of a small swing band.

Ellen (Director/Trombone) is very excited to be joined by Alan Matheson (Rhythm), Alison Gorman (Trumpet) and Bryan Milks (Saxophone) to provide more specialized coaching within each section.

We are auditioning!

Auditions will be held from June 23rd to July 4th. Auditions are open to all students regardless of whether they study at VAM or not. Auditions are free of charge and are conducted in a supportive and encouraging environment. The audition requirements are a piece/excerpt of the candidate’s choosing, major and minor scales and sight reading (for drums please be prepared to play three different styles). Please contact [email protected] to schedule an audition.

School of Swing logo

6 Questions with Katrina Goh

In anticipation of our Opera Studio’s production of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, we wanted to give you a sneak peek into some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into making a production. This is the first of a four-part series in which we interview the lead singers of the productions!
Our first interview is with Katrina Goh. Katrina is a 1st year Artist Diploma student at VAM, majoring in Voice Performance. She will be singing the role of Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi.
What do you enjoy most about singing Lauretta?

I love singing both the aria and the duet at the end of the opera. It’s such beautiful music.

Favourite scene from Gianni Schicchi and why?

My favorite scene would have to be the one where Schicchi is sharing his scheme with the Donati family. The music is so catchy and there is so much humor in it.

What should the audience listen or look for when they come to watch the production?

Definitely pay careful attention to the staging. It’s a hilarious opera on its own, but this particular production is hysterical. Jeanine [Fynn, Stage Director] is great at bringing out the humor of any piece in her staging. Of course, she doesn’t make this stuff up. It’s all in the music.

How did you get into opera?

I have been singing since I could talk. I always wanted voice lessons, but I didn’t start until I was 13.  My first voice teacher, Sheila Christie[,] is an opera singer, and gave me her dress rehearsal tickets to La Traviata. That was the first opera I ever watched and I was hooked. I thought it was so amazing, what these people could do with their voices! Over the next 6 years Sheila molded me, taking me from from Disney, to musical theatre, to art song and finally to opera repertoire. And I’ve been in opera-land ever since!

What have you enjoyed the most during your experience at VAM?

Definitely being part of shows like these. It’s a great experience working with the directors and conductors that David has brought in for us. I have learned so much from them as well as from my colleagues.

Finally, any last words?

Schicchi is such a fun show and I’m so glad that I’m able to be a part of bringing it to life. It’s a great first opera if you’ve never seen one before… Especially if you like comedy. Come check it out! Looking forward to seeing you there!!


2014 VAMSO Concerto Competition Results

On Saturday, May 30th and Sunday, June 1st, we had over 80 young musicians from all over BC participate in our inaugural VAMSO Concerto Competition. These musicians were competing for a chance to perform as a soloist with the VAM Symphony Orchestra, taking place in October. Our adjudicators were very impressed with amount of young talent that was on the stage!

Congratulations to our winners!
(All winners listed in alphabetical order)

Jack Le
Eric Liang
Edward Su
Ryan Zhu

Evan Ishii-Delukas, Cello
Grace Hye Won Sohn, Cello
Tate Zawakiuk, Cello

Woodwinds, Brass & Voice
Hanson Jaeho Kang, Clarinet

Alternate List

1st        Athena Deng
2nd       Arthur Wang
3rd       Linda Ruan
4th        Barry Tan

1st        Chloe Kim, Violin
2nd       Diana Kim, Violin
3rd       Corina Deng, Voilin

Woodwinds, Brass & Voice
Logan Liu Lan, Flute

Once again, huge congratulations to all performers and a big thank you to all of our adjudicators.