With earphones firmly in and the iPod set to practising the tenor part of a choral piece, Bob Vermeulen was so engrossed in singing an aria one day as he did his postman task of loading community mail boxes, that he never noticed the big black bear a few metres away sniffing at his car door! While it wasn’t unusual to see bears along his route between Otter Point and Jordan River, this one seemed to enjoy listening to the singing! Not only the bears but also several people on his routing benefitted from hearing the repertoire of songs, earning him the reputation as “the Singing Mailman.” Although retired from Canada Post last year and also from his former Mainland career of sales and marketing in bioinformatics specializing in software analysis of biological data, Bob has always had a heart for music. His father and older brother were accomplished violinists and the family home was constantly full of music. His wife Linda is also a pianist and together they raised two daughters with the passion for many types of music both orchestral and choral.
When Bob and his wife moved from Coquitlam in 2005, one of the draws to settling down in Sooke was the extraordinary fact that a small community supported a distinguished orchestra and other arts. His neighbour first introduced the concept of auditioning for the chorus. And it was perfect fit. He believes he has personally had solid choral training from Choral Director Wade Noble who has led the whole chorus to be such a notable success. Bob appreciates being involved with the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus for the camaraderie it offers. But his penultimate joy in chorus work is singing Handel’s Messiah with full orchestral and choral support to a receptive and grateful audience. It becomes an emotion filled satisfaction deemed to be far better than singing to the bears!
For more information on the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus go to: www.sookephil.ca