Bruce Ruddell is the new conductor for the Sooke Community Choir and he was interviewed by Ellen Bergerud.
After being the guest conductor of the SCC last spring, what is your impression of the choir?
I love the choir. I had a really great time. The choir worked hard and made me feel really good.
I love the energy and being around everybody. The choir wants to make it work well, so we have wonderful time.
What is your concept of a community choir?
Well, my whole concept is that a community choir is a non-auditioned choir. Anyone who wants to sing can come and sing. That is the foundation. There are no restrictions and I’ve never, ever had a problem with that in my 18 years as a conductor. If you want to sing you should not feel intimidated.
How do you work with untrained singers to get the best from them?
I have worked with people individually for many years and really enjoyed it, and it’s simply a matter of opening their ears. They have not had the opportunity to hear tone. It’s a matter of allowing the development of the ear, so it takes a bit of time, but if there is no intimidation then that can easily develop. Simple exercises work really well. We begin each rehearsal with exercises to get the ear working. I’ve spoken with many untrained singers and asked them “Why don’t you think you can sing?” Invariably they were told to mouth the words in Elementary school! It’s such a shame. You start with one or two pitches. I have yet to meet a person that cannot sing one or two or three pitches accurately and then it’s just a matter of expanding your range. It’s a muscle to use. The muscle is there you just have to exercise it. The success rate is 100 per cent.
What kind of music will you choose for the fall session?
It will be a Christmas program, but with a different approach.
I would like to incorporate the history of Sooke because I am really interested in the community of Sooke.
What was it like 40-50 years ago at this time of year? It will be reflective of the history, and we will have readings as well. The music will have a sincerity to it, not frivolous, with older carols that aren’t really well known. Also some really great choral arrangements of songs like White Christmas that are very attractive to an audience. I’ve acquired a beautiful arrangement of Silent Night, and also songs from different countries like Czechoslovakia. You will come away inspired by your own community and where you live, mixed with a kind of emotionally charged blend of great music.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your musical experiences.
My whole life has been music, and sharing it is my passion. You are welcome to visit my website: bruceruddell.com
What message would you like to get out to the community at large?
Come and sing! If you’ve ever thought it would be fun to sing, to make music or join a choir, please join and enjoy!
You’ll be welcome and have a great time. Most members come as much for the social aspect as for the music, so don’t hesitate to at least give it a try and make new friends along the way. We rehearse at Holy Trinity Church on Murray Road in Sooke on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., starting on September 3, 2014. You are welcome to come and see if you like it and would like to join.
For more information call Jeannine Clark at 250 642-3304 or visit the Sooke Community Choir’s website, www.sookecommunitychoir.com.
We look forward to seeing you!