Elena Branson was one of the lead hands behind Sooke Youth Show Choir’s series of Valentine’s Day singing telegrams

Young choir director has big heart for music

Sooke teen wants to study musical therapy, help others with speech impediments and disabilities.

You laughed your ears off, perhaps shed a tear, or simply gave in to a heartwarming serenade during any of Sooke’s countless concerts and theatre shows.

Ever wonder though, who are these people behind the scenes? After all, they have no age, no race, and no specific background; they’re there simply because they love to sing, to dance and to entertain.

Sook resident Elena Branson, 16, is certainly one of those familiar faces we see in and out of the spotlight all the time.

And rightfully so, as she serves as the Sooke Youth Show Choir’s assistant choir director and accompanist on piano.

Considering her crew are aged anywhere between four and 10 years old on average, it takes a fair bit of patience and skill to get things aligned and everyone working as a team.

To Branson, who also does choreographies and teaches dance moves to kids, it’s just part of the fun.

“I like being able to influence them and show them what they can do, because anyone can sing, anyone can dance and anyone can play an instrument,” she said.

Branson appeared in numerous shows around town as either a performer or production crew, including the Sooke Youth Show Choir’s The Wizard of Oz, where she played the Scarecrow, and served as the choir director for the recent Valen-tunes singing telegrams on Valentine’s Day.

But with 13 years of extensive dancing, piano and singing, Branson now turns her scope towards bigger goals, such as going to the academy of music and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Victoria.

More specifically, she wants to study musical therapy that helps people with disabilities through the power of music, including speech therapy.

Like her mom, Trish Branson, who inspired her to get involved with the musical arts, she hopes to have her own musical studio one day, focusing on musical therapy.

“It would be really cool to help people through music and make a positive difference in their lives,” Branson said.

For the time being though, she’s trying to have as much fun and accumulate as much experience in the community as possible, also serving as a summer councillor for kids, as well as involvement with an organization that helps women become teachers in Afghanistan.

Branson will be the assistant choir director for the Sooke Youth Show Choir’s upcoming Aladdin show at the Edward Milne Community School theatre.