Phoenix started the season with a bunch of new members, two of whom - Corlynn Hanney and Dale Owen - joined as temporary subs but ended up staying for decades!
After our Fall Retreat at the newly named Delta Pacific, we participated in another Music in the Morning concert series in October, this time in the Diane Farris Art Gallery. Such a civilized way to concertize! We finished our fall season with “Music for an Autumn Evening” at Shaughnessy Heights in November.
December, as usual, was crazy busy! We first participated in the Sunday Coffee Series at the Vancouver Playhouse on December 8th. This concert was televised and was replayed for years every Christmas on local television. And, for the first time, we held our own Christmas concert at Shaughnessy Heights United Church. The beginning of a longstanding tradition. And, we got one carolling gig in at Pacific Centre - which would have been more successful had we not been competing with the sound of the (loud!) waterfall we were standing next to. Oh well.
On Sunday, December 22, we boarded a bus and headed to Whistler to take part in the Music in the Mountains series. The sound of the audience entering the concert hall in ski boots was unforgettable! We shared the programme with Mavor Moore, who regaled the audience with Christmas stories. Eggnog was served to all! Then the choir headed to the Keg in Whistler Village for a post-concert dinner, where we presented Cort with a CD player for Christmas. It seemed so leading edge at the time!
The Christmas season wrapped up with singing live on the CBC’s Early Edition Christmas Eve programme. Then...we were right back at it! Our January retreat found us rehearsing for the upcoming CBC National Choral Competition, which we recorded in February. Next was Disc Drive Live, held at the Richmond Gateway Theatre in March. Disc Drive was a longstanding radio show on CBC, hosted by Jurgen Gothe. The concert was billed as an evening of entertainment by some of Disc Drive’s favourite performers. In April, we held our Spring concert at Shaughnessy Heights.
And then in May, we received the GREAT news. Phoenix had, once again, won the CBC Choral Competition! And did we ever - we came out on top in everything! First place (and $3000) for the Contemporary Category. First place (and $3000) for the extremely competititve Chamber Choir Category. And - best of all - the Healey Willan Prize (and $5000) for the most convincing performance of the entire competition. Out of 37 choirs in the competition finals, Phoenix won the prize. Wow.
A brand new (and never since duplicated) experience awaited us in June. We sang Aulis Sallinen's Beaufort Scale, about degrees of wind speed, while ballet dancers performed in front of us on the stage. It was very cool to see our sounds and words being interpreted in dance as we sang.
Our singing season wrapped up in August at the Hornby Festival. Corlynn’s husband Miles Ramsay filled in for a missing bass (a mere foreshadowing of Miles' future tenure in the choir). They had docked their boat at a local marina, and their practicing on board (Miles was frantically trying to learn a whole concert's worth of repertoire in a few short days) was met with raised eyebrows by other mariners tied up nearby.
While on Hornby we participated in another unforgettable recording. Who could ever forget Dr. Quenten Doolittle’s Hornby Island Suite? Please join in now…"To the dump the dump… bulging blackberries, bulging blackberries...card pack clubs…. Let’s go to the pub, the pub, the pub….Farewell, Hornby!" Twenty years have passed and Quenten's lyrics still hold a cherished place in our memories. Eventually, the recordings made during that weekend were released on a CD of Hornby Island Composers. Also (side note) who knew there was a fully functioning recording studio on Hornby? Wouldn't have guessed that, honestly.
Our year wrapped up on August 23rd at Maple Grove Part for our Seventh Annual Beer BBQ. And, another season in the record books to remember forever.
In 1991/1992 Phoenix was…
Leanne Patenaude (Dalton)
Deborah Mehes (Gibson)
Colin de Bourcier
Brian (Hoot) Gibson
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