• Vancouver Chamber Choir (4632)

About Us

The Vancouver Chamber Choir is one of Canada’s national treasures, an outstanding professional vocal ensemble noted for its diverse repertoire and performing excellence.

The Choir has been performing to audiences at home in Vancouver and on tour across Canada since it was formed in 1971 by conductor Jon Washburn. International excursions have taken the Vancouver Chamber Choir to the USA, Mexico, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Finland, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.

Honoured with the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence by Chorus America, the Vancouver Chamber Choir has to its credit countless performances and broadcasts, 32 recordings and numerous awards. Foremost supporters of Canadian music, Jon Washburn and the Choir have commissioned and premiered more than 250 Canadian choral compositions. Over the years they have sung over 3,000 performances of 350 pieces by 120 Canadian composers in addition to their extensive international repertoire.

The Choir’s award-winning educational programs include the National Conductors’ Symposium for advanced choral conductors, Interplay interactive workshops for choral composers, Focus! professional development program for student singers, OnSite visitations for school choirs, the biennial Young Composers’ Competition, and many on-tour workshops and residencies.

Artistic Director Kari Turunen

Kari Turunen

Kari Turunen is the new Artistic Director of the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the former artistic director of the male chorus Akademiska Sångföreningen, Kampin Laulu chamber choir, the choir of the cantors of the Finnish Lutheran Church, Chorus Cantorum Finlandiae, the all-male Ensemble Petraloysio and the Spira Ensemble. He has won numerous prizes at national and international festivals with his groups. He was named choral conductor of the year in Finland in 2008.

Dr. Turunen was educated at the University of Helsinki and the Sibelius Academy. He has a Master’s degree in choral conducting and a Doctorate in early music performance practice from the University of the Arts, Helsinki. He tries to balance scholarly activities with his artistic work and firmly believes that scholarship and performance can greatly benefit each other.

He is a sought-after guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician and teacher of choral conducting, both in Finland and abroad. He has also acted as the chairman of the Finnish Choral Directors’ Association from the mid-90s until 2017 and is the artistic director of Aurore, an annual Renaissance music festival in Helsinki.

Before becoming a full-time conductor, Dr. Turunen taught choral conducting and was the head of choral activities at the School of Music of the Polytechnic University of Tampere from 2001 to 2011. He is also a founding member of Lumen Valo, a professional vocal ensemble of eight voices. Lumen Valo has been a driving force on the early music scene in Finland since its conception in 1993 and has made a name for itself in almost 250 concerts around Finland and Europe. The group has recorded nine CDs, all of them critically acclaimed for their fresh programming and quality of singing.

An ageing, but still enthusiastic sportsman, Kari Turunen devotes time especially to playing cricket. A survivor of several marathons, he has also played cricket for his country, captaining the Finnish national team in 2003–2004. His passions outside family, work and sports include reading fiction, sweating on Sudoku puzzles, traveling, walks with his Parson-Russel terrier and creative procrastination.

Founder & Conductor Emeritus Jon Washburn

Jon Washburn is the Founder and Conductor Emeritus of the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Well known internationally for his mastery of choral technique and interpretation, he travels widely as guest conductor, lecturer, clinician and master teacher. He is also an active composer, arranger and editor and has had many compositions published, performed and recorded around the world.

In 2001 Mr. Washburn was named a Member of the Order of Canada (the nation’s highest civilian honour) and in 2002 received Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his lifetime contribution to Canadian choral art. Mr. Washburn received a Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors in the spring of 1996 and the Louis Botto Award from Chorus America in June 2000, in recognition of “innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in the development of a professional choral ensemble of exceptional quality.” He was given the Friends of Canadian Music Award 2000 by the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) and the Canadian League of Composers in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Canadian composers’ music. In the fall of 2009, he was named a CMC Ambassador and in 2010 received a star on the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame’s Starwalk. In 2012 Mr. Washburn received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In June 2014 he received the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, presented by Chorus America.

Jon Washburn

Administrative Team

Kari Turunen

Artistic Director

Steven Bélanger

Executive Director

Jon Washburn

Founder & Conductor Emeritus

Karen Seaboyer

Manager, Communications & Production

Nat Marshik

Bookkeeper/Office Coordinator

Violet Goosen


Tom Ellis


Auditions Coordinator

Board of Directors


George Laverock
Music Producer and Arts Administrator

Dr. Jeanette Gallant (Oxford)
Voice Teacher, Ethnomusicologist

Adam J. Garvin, CPA, CMA

Brent Hunter


Matthew Baird
Public Relations Manager,
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Anne Bonnycastle
Music Co-ordinator, Crofton House School

Dr. Donna Hogge

Wendy Kish

Colin Miles

Dr. Robert Rothwell

Dolores Scott
Singers’ Representative

Anthony G.V. Tobin, J.D., M.Ad.Ed., M.Res., B.Th., F.C.I.Arb.

Cara Ventura

Marianne Werner

Jennifer Wilnechenko
Marketing Manager,
EnWave Corporation

Honorary Patrons

John Bishop
Stephen Chatman
Tama Copithorne
David Cousins
Dr. Stephen Drance, O.C.
Sam Feldman
Charles Flavelle
Violet Goosen
Janis Hamilton
Ben Heppner, O.C.
Don Hudson
Doris Luking
Dr. John MacDonald, O.C.
Viviane Nitting
Imant Raminsh
Elizabeth Rathbun
R. Murray Schafer

Associate Choir

Vancouver Youth Choir

Vancouver Youth Choir

The Vancouver Youth Choir is Vancouver’s newest choral organization for children and youth. Founded in 2013 by Carrie Tennant, the choirs provide a space for beginning to advanced young singers to develop their artistry in a creative and supportive community. Over the past three years, VYC has grown rapidly. Beginning our first season with 30 singers, the organization has now expanded to include over 140 singers in three separate choirs: the Vancouver Youth Choir, VYC Junior, and VYC Kids. In all our levels, we strive for artistry and excellence. We believe in the artistic potential of young people – regardless of their age, ability or experience. Just as important to us, however, is to create a safe and supportive place for this artistry to develop. In addition to building skill and fostering talent, it is part of the Vancouver Youth Choir’s mandate to develop creative, caring citizens who value contributing to and investing in their communities.

For more information please visit the Vancouver Youth Choir’s website.

Carrie Tennant

Carrie Tennant

Vision • Mission • Values • Mandate

Our Vision

Distinctive, outstanding choral music programs, featuring performances recognized as reaching the highest standards of excellence, given by professional singers who are deeply committed to their art form.

Our Mission

To engage, inspire, enrich and change the lives of the widest possible audience by sharing with them the transformative experience of great choral music.

Our Values

  • We demonstrate consistent professionalism, and always strive for excellence.
  • We value tradition, and embrace innovation.
  • We believe in public education and professional development.
  • We strive to offer our audiences both accessibility and inspiration.
  • We do our work in a spirit of collaboration, as part of a community.

Our Mandate

  1. To bring live choral music performances of the highest quality to as many people as possible, at home and on tour.
  2. To use digital technology to share our music with those who cannot hear it live.
  3. To foster appreciation of choral music among the public.
  4. To contribute to the long-term development of the choral art in Canada and around the world.
  5. To provide educational opportunities for choral conductors, choirs, singers, teachers and students.
  6. To enrich the choral repertoire with attractive new works.
  7. To bring choral music by Canadian composers to Canadian and international audiences.
  8. To engage actively with our local communities in all their diversity, and with partners in other like-minded organizations.
  9. To provide secure employment for Canadian professional choral musicians.
  10. To celebrate our legacy while growing, building and innovating for a sustainable and exciting future.