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Sooke Community Choir set to sing again

Long-time Sooke choral staple back after COVID-induced hiatus
Nicholas Fairbanks

After three years of a COVID-induced hush, the Sooke Community Choir is set to hit the high notes again.

“We are thrilled to announce new leadership, a renewed sense of community commitment and a huge welcome to singers who would like to join us,” said Sooke Community Choir director Ellen Bergerud.

“The last three years have been very challenging for the choir. After a long hiatus, we are delighted to see old friends again, meet new members and sing our hearts out together once again. Our new conductor is none other than Nicholas Fairbanks, to whom we are so grateful.”

Many people in the community are familiar with Fairbanks through his work as choral master with the Sooke Philharmonic.

Fairbanks has earned numerous international degrees and awards for his work in England, France, and the U.S.

“Nicholas’s engaging personality has the choir working hard to increase their musical knowledge and to achieve their individual best,” Bergerud said.

“To top that off, soprano Nancy Washeim is dedicated to leading us in vocal coaching. Her career has also spanned the international musical community. We are in an esteemed and inspiring company with Nicholas and Nancy. They challenge and lift us to musical heights while having fun and making friends.”

The new team for the Sooke Community Choir, which was originally formed in 1989, includes accompanist Allie Pickets, who teaches piano at The Painted Piano Studio. Laura Dowhy, another local piano teacher, serves as relief accompanist and treasurer.

“Laura has donated her time endlessly over many years,” Bergerud said. “We are in very good hands as we regroup with our new president Linda MacMillan and secretary Jan Stope.”

The range of music the choir devotes its talents to ranges from classical and traditional to more modern genres.

Rehearsals occur at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings, beginning Sept. 6 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

Bergerud said the choir is eager to add new voices, and anyone interested in joining should email, or phone Bergrud at 250-818-6441.

Visit for more information on this non-profit organization.

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About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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