So, what do you do after you've achieved a ridiculous level of success in only ten seasons? Well - keep going strong, of course! For Phoenix in Season 11, it just kept on going with more tours, recordings and wins…. Phoenix was still in business!
After such a long, twelve month, celebration-packed season last year, you’d think it would be time to slow down a bit, but no! Phoenix, once again, enjoyed a sunny fall retreat in preparation for the fall concert on November 6th. As Leanne Patenaude had left Vancouver to live in Santiago, Chile, she was replaced by Brigid Coult, a well-known conductor, soprano, and head of the BC Choral Federation.
Our second CD “To Music” was released in late November, with people as far away as New York searching out copies, thanks to airplay on CBC radio’s national programmes (Thank you, CBC!) This same CD was spotted just a few months ago in 2013, still being sold at Sikora’s in downtown Vancouver! In December, we once again performed our Christmas concert at the Vancouver Playhouse. After our January retreat, we visited our favourite town for touring - Nanaimo - where we took part in the Nanaimo Concert series. This was an overnight trip, which meant there was time for a great dinner out as well as our first THEME PARTY! This one was pretty easy… just hats. We got more creative on the next tour...
In March we were included on a programme with three other groups for the Metropolitan Feast of Music at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. One of the groups sharing the programme was Chor Leoni, but the lions were just cubs at that point - just in their second season! Phoenix then did our recording for the CBC competition, up against musica intima this time. The competition was getting tougher by the minute! In April, it was off to Oliver, BC for the second tour this season, where we took part in a concert series for the South Okanagan Concert Society. Unfortunately, our hotel in Oliver was completely overrun by an American fraternity celebrating graduation, and the noise throughout the night was unbearable. So, we pulled up stakes and headed to the Riviera Motel in Osoyoos. Now, how often does one get to rehearse in a deserted (desserted?) fruit stand in a motel parking lot? Our Oliver concert was very warmly received, and the review actually called us “A National Treasure”! (Not sure the Oliver media was qualified to make that call, but whatever, we'll take it!) Afterwards, we held a really INTERESTING theme party. The idea was that you had to come dressed as either a Phoenix song lyric or a song title! People really came prepared for this party, and as you can imagine, some outfits definitely needed more explanation than others! (some of them are still a bit inexplicable...)
On our return, we held our spring concert at Shaughnessy Heights on April 30th. In May we sang at Gil and Effie Auchinleck’s 50th Anniversary party, in thanks for years of publicity work by Effie. And, at the end of May, the CBC Choral Competition results were announced. We had won first prize in the Chamber Choir category and Best Performance of a Canadian Work! In fact, BC choirs cleaned up in almost every category. It was quite amazing. There would be a special performance down the road to celebrate this BC sweep. In June, we began recording our third CD, titled "O! Kosmos". Don’t tell the doctors that Barb Paul, heavily pregnant and (supposedly) on total bed rest, snuck out to sing on this recording!
On June 29th we held our AGM. Two pieces of news on this day… Suzanne Victoria Paul was born at 4:21, freeing up Bill, the choir president, to be able to make the AGM after all. And sadly, Cortland Hultberg submitted his resignation as our conductor, to come into effect at the end of the next year, after a conductor search. We accepted his news with heavy hearts.
Two August events wrapped up the season. We had our Beer BBQ at the Paul’s home this year. And Leanne Patenaude came home from South America for a quick visit, and to become Leanne Dalton. Phoenix was invited to sing at this joyful event on August 14th. What a stunning bride! A wonderful finish to another great season.
In 1993/1994 Phoenix was…
Brian (Hoot) Gibson
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