The West Coast’s adult choirs in Tofino and Ucluelet are taking off under the devoted guidance of local leader Sophie L’Homme.

The West Coast’s adult choirs in Tofino and Ucluelet are taking off under the devoted guidance of local leader Sophie L’Homme.

Oh Happy Day! Tofino and Ucluelet adult choirs return

“I want everyone to feel welcome and not feel stressed. Just come and relax and sing."

NORA O’MALLEY

nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

 

Fresh off a month long sabbatical, which took her to Mexico and Montreal, West Coast choir conductor Sophie L’Homme is back on the block and raring to bring down the house.

Her thoughtful selection of songs will include popular favourites from last season, more songs about the sea, and a couple gospel influenced songs to reflect the current political climate of our neighbours south of the border.

“I picked up some old songs about human rights and freedom. They sound like gospel, but I think they’re more like old slavery songs that were probably invented in the 1900s,” L’Homme said.

Tofino Choir’s first rehearsal is on Thursday, Feb. 16 and Ucluelet Choir starts up on Tuesday, Feb. 21. There will be a minimum of two scheduled concerts at the end of May. When L’Homme, a University of Montreal jazz program graduate, launched an adult choir in Tofino last Jan. 2016, she said she never thought it would take flight the way it did.

“Fifty-five people showed up on day one. There was really a need. People wanted to gather and sing,” she recalled.

“People struggling with stuff, they say they come to choir and choir helps them. I have people saying that it really changed their life and they can’t wait for Thursday night so they can come and sing with the choir.”

In the fall, L’Homme started a second choir in Ucluelet after many enthusiastic phone calls from Parks and Rec. staff. She said starting that second singing group in Ukee was a real highlight for her.

“It was great to get to know so many new people,” she said.  

The Tofino and Ucluelet choirs joined voices in December for two concerts, both of which sold out. L’Homme said she never imagined to see standing room only.

“A lot of people came to me after the concert and told me they haven’t seen Tofino and Ucluelet gathering like that in years. It was so great to see everybody on stage. People didn’t know each other much,” she said.

“They hadn’t met before the general rehearsal a day before the concert. Music is such a universal language. We’re not very far from each other but still we have not rehearsed that much together. I just put both choirs together and it was as if they had sung together for 10-weeks. It was so great.”

L’Homme encourages new faces to come out and try choir. She said the first session is on her, and afterwards, if you like it, you can register.

She promises never to pin point anyone or make someone sing a solo if they don’t want to.

“I want everyone to feel welcome and not feel stressed. Just come and relax and sing,” L’Homme said.