Annapolis Valley Honour Choir Family Launches New Choir!

The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir (AVHC) is celebrating its 30th anniversary season with the launch of a new treble choir for children in Grades 3-6, starting in September.

The focus of this young ensemble is having fun, building friendships, and introducing singers to all that choral music can be.  This new choir, which will rehearse after school once a week on Wednesdays, will incorporate singing games, movement, listening and will lay strong foundations for healthy singing.  Continuing with the AVHC mission to provide a complete musical education, the music literacy program (theory and sight singing) will be incorporated as well as working with professional guest artists.

The current junior choir will become an intermediate level ensemble for Grades 6 to 9, and the senior choir will be for singers mainly in Grades 9-12.

“This has long been a dream of mine”, says artistic director, Heather Fraser, “to build AVHC into a fully fledged choral organization.  After the introduction of the junior choir five years ago, I’m so glad we can continue to grow in this direction. AVHC is so much more than just a choir to our singers. It’s a welcoming community full of artistry, learning, leadership, and heart that honestly changes people lives.  I just want to be able to extend this wonderful experience to as many young people as possible!”

Lise Rand, a parent volunteer with the current choir, is ecstatic with this news. “I am beyond thrilled that more young people will be able to access this incredible experience!  In our first year, the AVHC has become an amazing part of our lives. I can't speak more highly of this organization. Not only does AVHC provide an all-encompassing music education, they have created a safe, caring environment that allows the choristers to develop high-level skills, self-discipline, and grow their passion for music. I would highly recommend the AVHC and welcome all families throughout the Annapolis Valley to come sing with us!  From camp weekend and weekly rehearsals, to professional concert performances - Your children will LOVE this wonderful experience and the confidence that it brings.”

Recognized nationally, the AVHC is a leader in music education programming in the valley and Nova Scotia.  The choirs aim to build skill and artistry in its young singers, while also fostering caring, engaged and community-minded citizens who will share in a life-time love of singing.  There are currently 110 singers in the existing two choirs.

Auditions will be taking place for singers in all three choirs from May 27 to June 8 across the Valley.  Any students who will be in Grades 3-12 in September 2019 are welcome to attend. Detailed information and registration can be found on the choir’s website www.avhc.ca.


AVHC receives Charitable Status!

BIG NEWS! AVHC NOW A CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION

We are pleased to announce the AVHC has received charitable status. This now enables the choir to provide tax receipts for donations. For most, this provides a financial incentive that makes giving more affordable. You can search for our page on Canada Helps at www.canadahelps.org.

Every little bit helps us realize our vision of offering high quality music education programming that fosters artistry, excellence, leadership and community in our singers, and that is accessible to all.

Donations help us defray ongoing expenses, give assistance to singers in need, invite talented musicians to accompany our concerts, participate in festivals, and hire artists to work with the singers.

Every dollar helps us sing!

$35 - purchases theory book and materials for sight-singing program for one chorister
$150 – purchases a new uniform
$175 – purchases one new piece of music for one choir
$250 – employs a clinician for an afternoon workshop
$415 ( Junior) or $440 (Senior) – full tuition bursary for chorister for one year
$500 - $750 – covers the cost of venue for a performance
$1500 - cost of bussing for a one day tour for one choir
$2500 – purchases music for both choirs for the whole year

When you consider the after tax, weekly cost of donations in these amounts, you can see that so much can be done just for the price of a cup of coffee!

Annual Donation After Tax Cost (50%) Weekly Cost
$175 $87.50 $1.68 (small Tim Horton’s)
$250 $125 $2.40 (medium Just Us)

To Donate Visit
www.canadahelps.org

We hope that you will consider the choir as part of your own charitable giving.
Every gift, big or small, helps us give the gift of music. #voicesofthefuture

Download Poster Here

Welcome Kelly Lipton - New Choir Coordinator!

Dear AVHC Community and Supporters, 

On behalf of our entire AVHC family, Heather and the AVHC Board would like to give a very warm AVHC welcome to Kelly Lipton, who has now begun her role as our new choir coordinator!

Many of you already know Kelly from her roles as choir manager for both Junior and Senior choirs, and know of her talents as secretary on the Board of Directors.  

As the main administrative support for the choir, Kelly will handle all auditions, singer registrations, and financial processes along with our bookkeeper, and will work with Heather, the Board, and the Volunteer Lead Teams as support for the choirs and events.  

For those of you returning, all information regarding upcoming registration and payment details for next year will be coming soon from Kelly.  Her email address is avhccoordinator@gmail.com.

We are excited to add this much-needed support to our choir community and are fortunate to have Kelly’s experience and expertise in this role.  

Welcome, Kelly!

Sincerely,

Heather and the AVHC Board 

Kelly Photo.jpg

MEDIA RELEASE: Exploring Cultural Identity Through Music

The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir’s 2017-18 season offers a series of concerts and activities that explore the central theme of “home”, what is means to find home, to be home, and to support others in making home.

The first concert of the season, “Shall We Dream shares the emotional journey of those leaving behind a homeland in a search for a better tomorrow and will be the culmination of an entire weekend of activities for both choristers and community members geared towards exploring new cultures and music and our own role as hosts to newly landed immigrants in our community.

Two performances of this must-see concert will take place at the Horton High School Performance Centre on October 21 (7pm) and October 22 (2:30pm). The concert will share the struggles of searching and wandering but also the joys of finding peace and building bridges, and will be full of emotional, heart-rendering performances.  Our guests will include recently settled immigrant families in our Valley as well as a Syrian lute player, Hussam Al Assaf, who has newly arrived to Nova Scotia. 

AVHC Students will participate in a weekend of workshops and music-making with Arabic musical guests, Shireen Abu-Khatter and Hussein Janmohamed. Shireen and Hussein, both PhD students from the University of Toronto (School of Music) and accomplished musicians themselves, will offer a public workshop on Sunday October 22nd from 10:00 – 12:00 at Acadia University’s Denton Hall. This workshop is open to all thanks to funding provided by a successful grant proposal crafted by AVHC Artistic Director Heather Fraser.  A free will offering will help support the travel costs for our guest speakers.

Please join us for both this special workshop and our first concert of the season. Welcome our newest immigrant families to the Valley and learn something new about their music and culture.

Tickets can be purchased at any Ticketpro outlet (www.ticketpro.ca) and are $15 for adults and $5 for students/children (plus Ticketpro fees) or $20 at the door if available.  For further concert information or AVHC news, check the website www.avhc.ca or www.valleyevents.ca.  

Annapolis Valley Honour Choir Launches 2017-18 Season!

PRESS RELEASE: September 7, 2017

Artistic Director and Conductor Heather Fraser has just returned from a sabbatical year working with some of North America’s most talented choirs and conductors, so it’s perhaps not surprising that she has chosen to focus this year’s season on the theme of “home”. The performances will explore what home means to each of us in a world where people are too often displaced and forced to find and create a new sense of belonging.

In developing the season line-up, the AVHC was successful in receiving special grant funding to invite, this fall, Arabic musical guests from Toronto, Shireen Abu-Khatter and Hussein Janmohamed. These expert clinicians will provide a weekend of workshops for AVHC choristers in Arabic music and cultural identity in addition to a presentation open to the public at Acadia University. These sessions will culminate in two moving “must see” performances open to all. Through music exploring what it means to leave home behind, “Shall We Dream”, will be at Horton High School’s Performance Centre on October 21st and 22nd.

The ever popular holiday concert, this year entitled “On This Winter’s Night With You”, will celebrate East Coast Celtic traditions and music and is guaranteed to be a good ol’ Maritime kitchen party. To round out a night of down home music and stories, the AVHC will be joined by two well-loved local favourites, singer-song writer, Sarah Pound Gaetz and actor-director Mike Butler. Two concerts will take place at Horton High School on December 9th at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

The spring concert, “North” will take place at the Wolfville Baptists Church on May 12 and will feature music selected with the input of AVHC choristers to capture their own thoughts and feelings of what home means to them.

In addition to these special concerts, the AVHC season has a few other highlights. Choir members will perform at the Deep Roots Festival in September sharing the stage with Coco Love Alcorn and, in the spring, will participate in the provincial Juvenata Youth Festival in Halifax.

The AVHC this year has its largest cohort of singers ever with 140 junior and senior choir members hailing from throughout the Annapolis Valley.

For further concert information or AVHC news, check the website www.avhc.ca or www.valleyevents.ca. Tickets will be available soon from Ticketpro or the AVHC website.

AVHC 2016-17 Season Performance Dates!

Please find below a list of our main 2016-17 Concerts and Events.  Please refer to our Events page for detailed information about each concert, as well as ticket purchases! 

Coffee House! - Senior Choir
Friday, October 21st, 7:00pm
Wolfville Farmer's Market

Remembrance Day Ceremony - Junior Choir
Friday, November 11th, 10:45am
Acadia University Convocation Hall

Snow Lay on the Ground - Both Choirs
Saturday, December 3rd, 2:30pm and 7:00pm
Wolfville Baptist Church

February/March - Performances TBA

Annapolis Valley Music Festival
Competitive Choral Classes
Tuesday, April 25th, beginning at 6:00pm

Songs of the Land - A Canadian Song Celebration
Saturday, May 13th, 2:30 and 7:00pm
Wolfville Baptist Church

Heather Fraser - Teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony

Reposted from The Grapevine, Issue No. 13.06
Written by Mike Butler

See Full issue here: http://grapevinepublishing.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/The-Grapevine-April-21-2016.pdf 

HEATHER RACHAEL FRASER was born and bred in the Annapolis Valley. She grew up in Weston, on a lovely old property at the foot of the north mountain with her mom, dad, and sister. Music always played a huge part in Heather’s young life, which included piano lessons, tots and tunes, workshops, the South Berwick Girl's Choir, and the Honour Choir -- the same choir that Heather is now conducting.

She says, “Music was basically my life. But I didn't think it was going to be my career. In high school I was so sure I was going to go into the sciences. But one interview with a biology professor at Acadia freaked me out so much I left his office and signed up for an audition for the music department the same day.” And so many are glad Heather made that decision! After her piano degree at Acadia, Heather took a year off, took some music education courses, and got a job at the Port Williams Baptist Church as their music director. In that year she realized how much she loved teaching, and wanted to be ON the podium, instead of at the piano. So she registered in the Music Education program at McGill University and she used all her singing/accompanying experience that she had gained with the Honour Choir to propel her in the direction of choral conducting.  

After a few years of teaching in London, UK, Heather returned to Nova Scotia in 2009 and was hired at the NS Choral Federation as Program Director. She took over as Artistic Director of the Annapolis Valley Honour Choirs (AVHC) in 2010. Heather has been fortunate to work with some incredible musicians and musical directors over the years and she attributes a lot of her strengths, work habits, and drive to her mentors Ross Thompson and Iwan Edwards. But her biggest influence, and her primary mentor, was her dad. Heather states, “My dad was my biggest influence with my music and I really wouldn't be doing any of this if it hadn't been for his dedication and guidance and the education he gave me. He said when I was born that my long fingers meant I was going to be a pianist. He died a year ago from cancer and it's been quite devastating.”

As Artistic Director of the AVHC, Heather has a true passion for this job. She considers it a great honour to be able to teach choral music to young people and to pass along the same incredible joy and gift that was given to her. The vision statement of the AVHC is "to deliver a complete choral education, nurture healthy developing voices, and achieve musical excellence - all while building a community of knowledgeable, thoughtful young musicians and caring, engaged citizens who will share in a life-long love of singing."

Heather states, “I strongly believe in this statement. I love watching the singers succeed and become stronger, better musicians. They come from varied backgrounds, but they all want to be good and they want to be challenged. It is my job to create a safe space for our singers to take musical risks, to go for broke without fear of judgment and I love watching the singers grow each year. I love watching them rely on each other, and support one another in times of need.” Besides the love of music and students, Heather enjoys the community involvement and the sense of family that the AVHC has become over the years.

After an exciting adventure recently in Cuba with the Choir, Heather has returned and is polishing up the program for the final AVHC concert of the year on May 13 at Christ Church in Windsor, and May 14 at the Wolfville Baptist Church. Both shows start at 7:30pm. Come and see everything that choral music encompasses and what it really can be! Heather says the program will include some First Nations music, music from Cuba and Latin America, music from home, and music that just expresses the true joy that songs bring to life. As the Program Director for the Nova Scotia Choral Federation, Heather also develops and coordinates the provincial choirs (Nova Scotia Youth Choir, Children's Chorus of Nova Scotia etc.), the annual "Sing Summer" Choir Camps that are held at the Berwick United Church campgrounds each August, and workshops of all kinds, bringing in guest conductors and clinicians. 

And what does she love most about living here? “Where else in the world would be better really? It's bloody gorgeous. It's a beautiful place full of kind, generous people, with a true sense of community. And the best thing - the amount of culture, the amount of artistic activity, and the community support for these arts activities to flourish and be sustained. From Acadia's programs to all of the community theatre, music, dance, and all the artists and artisans, it really is a land of plenty. We should feel so incredibly lucky.”

Heather’s goals are to continue to grow the AVHC organization -- to expand their outreach, do more collaboration with other choral and arts groups, continue to strive to create wonderful musical performances and reach new heights, and to share their music with as many people as they can. She would also like to continue her professional development in conducting to be able to offer these singers more, and to be the best conductor and educator she can be. Well, with her enthusiastic personality, and her passion for her projects, this should happen before she knows it! 


 

Honour choir event offers sweet sounding performances, tasty treats

The AVHC hosted ‘Sweets for the Sweet’ at the Louis Millett Community Complex in New Minas Feb. 21. Conducted by Heather Fraser and accompanied on keyboard by Gus Webb, the junior choir performed a variety of numbers. Choristers also gave several solo performances. At intermission, cakes and drinks were served.

Read the full article in the Kings County News

Press Release to the Media Outlets

"The AVHC Board issues the following media release in response to today’s events regarding the choir." – October 7, 2015

The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir is saddened to learn that charges have been laid by the Kings RCMP against a former parent in relation to mishandling of monetary funds.

The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir has been instructing youth for over 25 years within the Annapolis Valley. Once a school board based program, the organization evolved in 1999, into a community led auditioned choir accepting choristers from Annapolis, Kings, and Hants counties. The organization emphasizes musical and vocal training through choral music experiences that allow leadership opportunities, volunteerism, and community involvement. It provides a powerful means for young choral musicians to express themselves musically nurturing confidence and self-esteem.

The Board members of the organization along with its staff are committed to providing an instructional music program that enriches the lives of its members and their communities. "The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir will continue to perform, host, and maintain the high level of excellence that our supporters and community members have come to expect from our organization. Our Board and the parent membership are committed that this disappointing news will not deter our choristers from doing what they love to do; make beautiful music and sharing it with others." says Board Chair, Kim Sweet.

The Choir next performs at the "Don't Be Afraid - A Choir for Social Change" Fundraising Event on October 24, 2015 at Horton High School beginning at 7:30 pm.

Music from coast to coast in joint concert between Annapolis Valley Honour Choir, B.C. children’s choir

The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir’s junior members and British Columbia’s Coastal Sound Children’s Choir will exchange music and stories in a spirited concert on May 18.

The joint concert, We Live Here, will explore maritime culture, coastal communities and coastal industries, through the lens of choral music.

The audience will hear beloved folk songs from both provinces, including Canadian composers Sarah Quartel, Brian Tate, Eleanor Daley, Lloyd Arntzen and more.

See the full article in Kings County News!

AVHC Auditions

The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir is announcing auditions for new choir members for the next school year, beginning in September.  Any students in Grades 5-12 during the 2014-2015 academic year are invited to attend!
 
Known as one of the province’s best choral music organizations, the AVHC now has two choirs with 120 students from throughout the Annapolis Valley Region. For the last 25 years, it has been educating young singers to be better musicians, choristers and citizens of their communities.

Auditions for both Junior Choir (Grades 5-8) and Senior Choir (Grades 8-12) will be taking place on from June 2nd to 6th at various locations across the valley!

All detailed information about the choir, audition locations as well as online registration for auditions can be found on the AVHC website, www.avhc.ca.