25 Memories From 25 Years

A wee Taste of Christmas 

Several members of Island Voices noticed that the new Shelter Point Distillery had wonderful acoustics, the closest one can get to a cathedral on the North Island. We wanted to do something Christmassy, so off to the distillery we went, to sing right up close to those polished copper vats. Choir members brought homemade cookies and mulled cider, and the distillery invited us all to taste a wee dram of their product. Needless to say, a good time was had by all!

CBC 2004 

Our connection with the CBC was greatly strengthened in 2004. We entered the CBC Choral Competition, and were delighted to make it to the level of “National Semi-finalist”. We were invited to prepare a promo for their new afternoon show All Points West.  But the real highlight was performing live on North by Northwest with Sheryl MacKay. Campbell River’s new Maritime Heritage Centre had just opened, and the very first event was the “Words of the Water” Festival. Since Sheryl’s show begins at 6 am, the choir was up early, dressed and ready to sing at 6:30! Sheryl was so welcoming, and the interview with IV’s long-term MC, John Elson was truly charming. We were able to get a live recording of the event, thanks to Ray Grigg, alto Joyce Baker’s husband, who recorded it from the radio in their Quadra Island kitchen – you can even hear the interference from an airplane that flew by.


Ever since its founding in 1997, Island Voices has set aside the last weekend of September to do a retreat, and the choir has worked with some of Canada’s best conductors - Diane Loomer, Ramona Luengen, Erik Lichte, Graeme Lanager, Adam Con, Jim Sparks, and other wonderful directors. Retreats were always wonderful learning opportunities for the singers, and especially for the conductors. 

But retreats weren’t just about the music. They were opportunities for the choir to grow as a community, and are a vital part of Island Voices culture – even in 2020, when we stood in the rain, socially distanced, ready to make music.