Sophie L’Homme has taken the West Coast by song.
A joyous buzz enveloped the peninsula over the weekend of Dec. 15 as the 70-member Tofino-Ucluelet Choir delighted audiences in both towns.
The choir is celebrating its third-year anniversary this month and its director and founder was thrilled to see sold-out audiences at both December events.
“I think the community adores that all the people that are in choir, adore choir…It makes them happy that their friends are happy singing so they want to support that,” she said. “It’s heartwarming. It makes me know that I’m in the right place in the right moment.”
READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet choir sings into spring
She said she launched the choir after moving to Tofino from Montreal and receiving numerous requests for singing lessons.
“I grew up singing in choirs and, for me, choir is like a community. It’s a mini-family, well it’s a big family actually, it’s huge,” she said alluding to her group’s impressive 70-strong membership. “There were so many great voices here and I just wanted to gather them together and make music in the community, but it has grown beyond my expectations.”
She added the region is rich with creative locals that quickly thrived under her guidance.
“I come from Montreal, where you have to rehearse, you have to do your thing and I think people were hungry for that ‘East Coast discipline.’ We’re doing things. It’s happening. And, people that see our concert, when they see us onstage, they fall in love with our happiness,” she said. “Tofino and Ucluelet bring special people; people that are not finding their place in the big cities. I think it’s very sensitive people, very artistic people, that come here…I’m amazed by the talent for sure.”
READ MORE: West Coast choirs delight
She said some residents arrive at their first rehearsal feeling timid about singing, but quickly bask in the supportive environment and become part of a harmonious chorus.
“It’s magic when all the voices gather together like that and you get hooked to it. It’s pure love,” she said. “Sometimes we hit harmonies and I see all the choir having a childish smile on their face. It brings that warmth and joy together of opening up. We’re vulnerable when we do that and that’s why, I think, we get so hooked to it.”
She added that the choir has blossomed into a rewarding full-time job.
“This choir is bringing me so much joy,” she said. “It’s just a pure joy to work with this group of people. They are so hungry to learn and happy to be there.”
She noted the connective magic the choir has created is evident in the fact that the singers requested to officially change the name from the Tofino and Ucluelet Choirs to the Tofino-Ucluelet Choir, to symbolize the unity within it.
Choir season launches again in February and anyone wanting to join the fun can contact Tofino’s recreation department at 250-725-3229 or Ucluelet’s at 250-726-7772.
“It’s open to anybody,” she said. “The only thing people have to know is that there is work required to be in the choir. You’ve got to be at home learning your stuff. If you’re willing to do that, we are opening up our arms to you.”
READ MORE: New pop choir for Tofino youth