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, the Choir was 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.

Conductors’ Symposium

The Conductors’ Symposium provides advanced training in choral conducting to university, school, church and community choir directors from around the world. Kari Turunen and Jon Washburn will be the Master Conductors for this week-long workshop in February 2020.

Six 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 Dr. Turunen and Mr. Washburn. Each conducting session is recorded to video so that participants can review their conducting between sessions. The six Conducting Participants each conduct a portion of a concert at the end of the week.

The 40th Annual Conductors’ Symposium will take place February 10-15, 2020 at the Vancouver Academy of Music.

Application deadline is November 18, 2019.

Jon Washburn Jeremy Warner
Vancouver Academy of Music


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 Kari Turunen and the Vancouver Chamber Choir.

In these workshops, composers are allotted individual rehearsal time 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,the Canadian Music Centre BC Region and other educational sponsors.

Two workshops are planned in Vancouver for the 2019/20 season:

October 30, 2019
March 25, 2020


October 1, 2019 (for the October 30 workshop)
February 7, 2020 (for the March 25 workshop)

SOCAN Foundation logo
Canadian Music Centre BC Region

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 Kari Turunen.

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 FOCUS ON CLASSICS on Friday, October 18, 2019 at 7:30pm at Pacific Spirit United Church. The students will rehearse and perform the following repertoire under the direction of Kari Turunen:

Felix Mendelssohn — Mitten wir im Leben sind, Op. 23, No. 3
Claudio Monteverdi — Magnificat primo


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

Founder & Conductor Emeritus 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 15th biennial competition will be held in 2021.