Allison Girvan will be Nelson’s cultural ambassador for 2019.
The award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium, is given annually by the city’s cultural development committee.
“Allison is an ideal cultural ambassador for our city,” says Sydney Black, chair of the committee. “She has truly been a gift to our community and we are thrilled to recognize her with this honour.”
A singer, performer, music director and choral arranger, Girvan has lived and worked in Nelson for 23 years.
She has performed as a featured soloist and with ensembles including the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as a studio vocalist for radio, television and feature films, and as a performer with recent stage appearances including a role in Hiromoto Ida’s Birthday Present for Myself.
Last summer, she directed Fireworks, a large-scale community singing event that saw the participation of over 400 hundred local singers at the Nelson and District Community Complex. And she produced Ripple Effect, a series of progressive concerts on the grounds and in the temple at the Yasodhara Ashram, sung by her renowned youth ensemble Corazón.
Girvan leads four youth choirs in Nelson, in addition to Corazón, and she travels extensively to give workshops to choral groups across the continent. She has been the musical director for 21 seasons of the Capitol Theatre’s summer youth program.
“She has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of youth,” Black says, “inspiring and training them to perform at an extremely high level and encouraging them to enjoy, and in many cases pursue, musical studies.”
“I feel an incredible amount of support when performing and working in Nelson, and on tour I’m so proud I’m from here,” says Girvan. “This award represents a concrete manifestation of the relationship I have with my home and is a beautiful example to other places of how Nelson celebrates and values its artistic community. I feel so honoured for this recognition and look forward to continuing to share my love of Nelson using arts as the vehicle for 2019 and beyond.”
Girvan is currently developing her latest project, Quintessence (Bridge Builder) with composer Don Macdonald and previous Nelson cultural ambassadors Hiromoto Ida and Slava Doval.
The performance, to be workshopped in February and presented at the Capitol Theatre in October 2019, deals with the reality of climate change and political divisiveness, the subsequent loss of hope and sense of isolation followed by the struggle to find one’s centre and the path back to community.
Girvan takes over the position as Cultural Ambassador from dancer Doval, who represented the city in 2018. Previous cultural ambassadors include writer Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, visual artist Ian Johnston, musician Bessie Wapp, filmmaker Amy Bohigian, actor Lucas Myers, dancer Hiromoto Ida, author Anne DeGrace, fibre artist Angelika Werth, and the Corazón Youth Choir.
The cultural ambassador is expected to represent and promote the City of Nelson on their travels, increasing the visibility and cultural reputation of the city.