The Vancouver Chamber Choir is devoted to excellence in performance, and to mentoring and encouraging new talent. The Choir is a leader in its educational initiatives and community outreach programs. These activities provide a critical link with today’s youth, foster a better appreciation of choral music, and contribute to the growth of choral music in Canada.

One of the hallmarks of this non-profit society is the scale and scope of outreach and educational programs offered throughout each season. The Choir also trains singers, conductors, and composers across Canada in its ongoing effort to contribute back to society, to preserve the choral traditions of the past, and to encourage growth and innovation in the works of the future.

In June 2000, Mr. Washburn and the Choir were honoured with two awards at the 2000 Chorus America Conference, including the Education and Outreach Award, given in recognition of the Choir’s outstanding programming in this area.

National Conductors’ Symposium

The National Conductors’ Symposium provides advanced training in choral conducting to university, school, church and community choir directors from around the world. Jon Washburn is the Master Teacher for this week-long workshop.

Five applicants will be chosen to be Conductors and will be given significant time to conduct the Vancouver Chamber Choir in rehearsal and performance. Up to ten more applicants will be selected as Observers and will be involved in all aspects of the Symposium, including one opportunity to conduct, if they wish.

In the conducting and evaluation sessions, emphasis is given to choral techniques, conducting gestures, and score interpretation under the direction of Mr. Washburn. Each conducting session is recorded to video so that participants can review their conducting between sessions. The five Conducting Participants each conduct a portion of a concert at the end of the week.

The 39th Annual National Conductors’ Symposium will take place February 11-16, 2019.

Application deadline is November 19, 2018.

Jon Washburn Jeremy Warner


Vancouver Chamber Choir Interplay Winnipeg 2016

Interplay is an interactive workshop for Canadian composers who write for chorus: it provides them with the opportunity to workshop their in-progress (or recently completed) choral works and ideas with Jon Washburn and the Vancouver Chamber Choir.

In these workshops, composers are allotted individual rehearsal time (usually 30-45 minutes) with the professional chorus and conductor. This time may be used to test completed work and/or try out new concepts. The conductor, singers, and composer may dialogue about musical and technical features, strengths, flaws, textures, colours, notations, and many other aspects of successful choral writing. Each workshop is closely tailored to the needs and interests of the individual composer.

There is no charge to composers for the workshops, thanks to the generous support of the SOCAN Foundation and other educational sponsors.

Three workshops are planned across Canada for the 2018/19 season:

St. John’s, NL — March 2, 2019

Generously hosted by:

Halifax, NS — March 11, 2019

Generously hosted by:

Vancouver, BC — April 3, 2019


SOCAN Foundation logo

Focus! Professional Development for Young Singers

Focus! is a brief but intensive introduction to the world of professional choral singing for university and college students. A quartet of singers from each music department in Metro Vancouver is nominated by the school’s choral conductor. The selected singers work with the professional singers of the Vancouver Chamber Choir under the direction of Jon Washburn.

As space is limited, participants in the Focus! program must be recommended by their college or university music/choral teacher.

This year’s concert is We are Singers/We are Song: Joy in Singing on Friday, October 19, 2018 at 8:00pm at Pacific Spirit United Church. The students will rehearse and perform the following repertoire under the direction of Jon Washburn:

Antonio Lotti — Crucifixus
Ludwig van Beethoven — Opferlied, Op. 121b
John Rutter — Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Gabriel Fauré — Après un rêve (arr. Jon Washburn)


OnSite is designed for small groups of elementary and secondary school students and their teachers or supervisors. The program, provided free of charge, offers a unique learning environment for students and teachers through attendance at a rehearsal, interaction with the conductor and singers, and attendance at the relevant concert.

OnSite is not only an experience to treasure, but also a way of establishing and building a long-term relationship between a school and the Vancouver Chamber Choir.

Young Composers’ Competition

Conductor Jon Washburn created this biennial event to encourage the development of young composers and to stimulate the interest of young people in singing choral music and attending choral concerts. The competition provides young composers with the artistic direction and supervision that will enable them to pursue the art.

The compositions are judged in three categories: Elementary (ages 8-12), Secondary (ages 13-17), and College/University (ages 18-22). Within each category, a cash prize is awarded to both first- and second-place winners, plus a “Best of BC” prize.

The 14th biennial competition will be held in 2019.

Finalist compositions will be performed and winners announced at the Youth & Music concert on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 8pm (Shaughnessy Heights United Church, Vancouver).

Application deadline is March 22, 2019.