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British Columbia Boys Choir
Founded in 1968 by Donald Forbes, the British Columbia Boys Choir has won international acclaim throughout Canada, the Netherlands, the United States, Europe, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, China and South America. The British Columbia Boys Choir is a four-part secular boys choir, one of the few in North America. Over its 45 year history the Choir has trained over 900 members who have represented Canada on 30 international tours, performing a demanding repertoire spanning centuries, from Gregorian chant to contemporary works. Programmes frequently include sacred and secular works, selections from musicals and opera, folk songs from around the world, and an assortment of Canadian works; many specifically composed for the Choir. Members reside in the Greater Vancouver region and range in age from 7-24. In addition to frequent radio and television appearances, the Choir has made over 20 recordings and a one-hour documentary film �Summer Song� profiling the Choir's 10th tour to The Netherlands and has been viewed on television around the world. The Choir currently has three CDs on the market: Home, Spirit and If My Voice Had Wings.  


It may seem like splitting hairs, but defining the British Columbia Boys Choir is a fairly elaborate proposition: a non-liturgical, SATB (soprano-alto-tenor-bass), boys choir. But what does all that really mean, and, more significantly, why does it matter? In this and a subsequent article, I'd like to provide a bit of background about choral tradition and the implications of both the old and the new repertoire sung by The Boys.

From the beginnings of western classical music, singing has been especially significant. Vocal music designed for church use was, for many centuries, the only music notated and preserved. Chant traditions of the early middle ages (heard in last April's concert) flourished in the many monasteries and churches.

As time went on, composers experimented with intertwining two or more melodic lines and what we now call polyphony became fashionable. Composers came to realize that differing voice types helped highlight the sophisticated interplay that is the hallmark of vocal polyphony. But at that time aspects of church policy effected resources available to composers: mixed choirs were not allowed in sacred contexts and there were many young singers already in the monasteries. The desirability of a complete range of voice types lead to the use of boy trebles in sacred choirs.

Thus for many centuries serious composers wrote their best and most impressive works in service of the church. Unaccompanied (or 'a capella') vocal polyphony was the style of choice and these works were specifically conceived for the blend of boys' and mens' voices. Today all the serious choirs learn and perform the great historical choral repertoire: modern youth choirs are unable, by definition, to handle the full-spectrum repertoire. Contemporary mixed SATB ensembles can and do perform with sophisticated musicianship but they do not ever have the sound heard by Lassus, Palestrina, Byrd, Josquin and beyond; only male voice ensembles create the sound conceived by the early masters. But let's go back to the BCBC's fundamental definition: a non-liturgical (in that they are not church affiliated) SATB choir of young people, uniquely equipped to perform the choral masterpieces of the 6th through 18th centuries. That the BCBC is by definition restricted by young tenors and basses is, to put it mildly, non-traditional. These implications, especially regarding new choral work tailored for the ensemble, will be covered in an article next issue.

Our People

Donald Forbes, Founding Conductor

Gerald Van Wyck, Conductor from 1988-2003

Tony Araujo, Artistic Director

In addition to his position as Artistic Director of the British Columbia Boys Choir, Tony Araujo is Director of Choral Activities at St. Patrick Regional Secondary School and Artistic Director of Corpus Christi College Chamber Choir and Spirit Alive Men's Chorale. Mr. Araujo has developed an award-winning high school choral music program that includes five choirs, with over half the student body enrolled. Mr. Araujo is recognized for the passion and musicality he consistently develops in his choirs as well as for his selection and interpretation of versatile repertoire. Mr. Araujo's choirs have been invited to perform at international conferences and festivals throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including concerts at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, Canterbury Cathedral and the United Nations.
Mr. Araujo's contribution to choral music education have been featured on CBC radio and television, and the recently produced documentary film, "Spirit Alive: The Tony Araujo Story". He is a recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence and was recently inducted as a lifetime Honorary Member of the Golden Key International Honour Society for his scholastic achievements, leadership and community service.
Mr. Araujo received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Bachelor of Education (Secondary) degrees from the University of British Columbia. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Pastoral Studies from Seattle University and is currently completing a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology. Mr. Araujo is committed to the vocational and transferential aspects of the choral music experience, applying new theories and practices of depth psychology to cultural transformation and healing and locating this work in the larger frame of academic scholarship.
Interview with Tony Araujo, Artistic Director

Margot Holmes, Executive Director 1993 - June 2018

Edette Gagne , Associate Conductor

A charismatic and dynamic conductor, Edette Gagne has built a reputation for excellence in musical performance in her work. Her passion for music is fueled by intense musicianship and attention to detail, and Edette�s performances reflect both careful adherence to performance practice and the high standards she sets for both herself and her ensembles. Edette holds a Master of Music degree in conducting from the University of Calgary, Bachelor degrees in arts and education from the University of Alberta, as well as Associate Performance Diplomas in piano and voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She has studied conducting with Helmut Rilling, Toshi Shimada, Paula Holcombe, Allan McMurray, Frank Klassen, Kenneth Woods, David Hoose and Christopher Zimmerman.
Her conducting experiences have now circumnavigated the globe, with shows conducted across Canada, Sydney Australia, Los Angeles and New York City. She is in great demand as a guest conductor, adjudicator, vocal coach and lyric soprano. A strong proponent of new and rarely performed works, Edette has conducted several World, North American and Canadian premieres. 
Presently, the Canadian West Coast is her home, where she is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Coast Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the WVYB String Ensemble and Youth Orchestra, the Associate Conductor of the British Columbia Boys Choir, and the Music Director for the North Shore Light Opera Society.

  Patricia Plumley,  Conductor- Vancouver Island
Patricia Plumley In 2009, the British Columbia Boys Choir  was delighted to welcome back,  Patricia Plumley to our artistic team,  as Conductor of the British Columbia Boys Choir - Vancouver Island. Patricia worked with the British Columbia Boys Choir when 

she lived in Vancouver. In addition to her work with the BC Boys Choir, Patricia is currently on faculty at the School of Music at Vancouver Community College (VCC) for over 20 years. Patricia has taught: class piano, pia

no pedagogy, keyboard literature, voice and piano lessons, chamber collaboration, vocal coaching and yoga. In addition, Patricia conducts the VCC Willan Choir and is co-conductor of the Concert Choir. Outside of the Vancouver Community College, Patricia enjoys the commitment to her work with private students of all ages in voice, piano and rudiments in both Vancouver and Nanoose Bay. After conducting with the BC Boys Choir Choristers and Celeste Girls Choir in 1998, she launched and directed the Kids Sing Inner City Chorus where she combined her love of movement, art, drama and singing. Patricia has also combined yoga and dance with music studies in her workshop Body Awareness for Musicians that she has presented at VCC , Douglas College and Beethoven Studios in Hong Kong.


BCBC Board of Directors 2013-2014 

Charitable Registration # 133712851 RR 0001   

Lynn Mackinnon,  President

Anntonette Keogh, Vice  President

Shannon Legovini, Secretary

Members at Large: Larisse Goldstein,, Michael Lewis, Lisha Li, Lisa Renzullo, Natasha Sukunda, Bianca Fusco Zanatta   Ex-Officio: Tony Araujo and Margot Holmes