Allison Girvan already conducts four youth choirs in Nelson. Now she’s adding a fifth. Her new auditioned group, Solstice, starting this fall, will be for singers age 13 and up.
“The idea is that it addresses the voice change for boys and girls,” she says. “People know that boys’ voices change, but girls’ do as well, right around that age.”
The new choir will relieve the pressure on her 65-member group Corazón (previously for singers 13 and up, now 15 and up, with the oldest singers in their early 20s).
“Corazón is so big that it is hard for singers with changing voices to really have their needs addressed in week-to-week rehearsal environment,” Girvan says.
Girvan says she has been turning away too many singers at Corazón’s annual auditions, and most them are 13 and 14 years old.
“The last few years I have turned away singers in significant enough numbers that it was starting to give me ulcers,” she says.
Solstice will have about 30 singers, and Girvan expects that Corazón will drop to about 60.
She said Solstice will be musically similar to Corazón, “with world music being the focus and social justice being the thrust.”
In the 16 years since it started, Corazón has grown not only in size but in influence. The group sells more than 800 tickets to its year-end concert in Nelson each year and has many fans in larger centres throughout Western Canada because of its eclectic world music repertoire and its vibrant presence. In 2009, Nelson City Council named the group its inaugural official cultural ambassador.
Girvan said Solstice will have to work as hard as Corazón does.
“If you think you can just come to rehearsal and that will be it, that is not going to work. Everybody needs to prepare between rehearsals.”
Solstice will have an important role to play in its first year. They will be the youth choir in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, which Girvan will produce in Nelson in February for the Amy Ferguson Institute.
Girvan’s family of choirs also consists of SongCore (age seven to nine, directed by Kathleen Neudorf), VoixVive (age 10 and up), and Lalin (18 and up).
Auditions for Solstice will take place on September 12 starting at 3 p.m. at the Nelson United Church, and auditions for new singers in Corazón are at 3 p.m. on September 6. Anyone wishing to audition for either group should email Girvan at firstname.lastname@example.org.