Creston Valley Blossom Singers performed Celtic Christmas in 2018. (Submitted)

Creston Valley Blossom Singers performed Celtic Christmas in 2018. (Submitted)

New year, new faces? Creston’s Blossom Valley Singers hope for a 2022 return to choir

The choir is planning to start a Spring 2022 season on Jan. 18

Submitted by Linda Wallace, President of Blossom Valley Singers

Like many in Creston, the Blossom Valley Singers (BVS) have had a hard two years under COVID-19 restrictions. Big changes happened since they last sang, and the new year is bringing some hope that they can start afresh.

As September 2021 approached, singers were excited by the prospect of making music together again and enjoying the great sense of community and camaraderie that comes from being part of a choir. Just as they geared up for relaunch, however, COVID shut things down again. The rampant rise of cases and the appearance of the Delta variant in town meant renewed restrictions on gathering to practice or even staging their always beloved Christmas concert for 2021. In much more devastating news, the choir and the whole of the Creston Valley were shaken by the passing of long-time choir director Anita Stushnoff.

Her indomitable spirit had lovingly shared a joy of music for many wonderful years – first as accompanist for the choir in 1992, then from 2011 as its musical director. A beacon of positivity, her light is deeply missed.

With such a huge void to fill, serendipity stepped in. While BVS began its search for a new director, newcomer to the valley Morgan Jones, a secondary school teacher, was looking for a choir to direct. Morgan and his family come from Courtenay, B.C., and he brings with him a wealth of musical experience with a BA in Music/History from Bishop’s University, a Master of Arts in Musicology and Vocal Performance from the University of Victoria, and a PhD in Musicology from the University of Western Ontario. He has directed school choirs around the world, from the Ukraine to Swaziland, as well as here in Canada. His wide range of skills are sure to keep the BVS in good form and delivering music that would make Mrs. Stushnoff proud.

Another change also brings new opportunities as long-time stalwart and masterful accompanist, Monte Anderson, retires from his role. A well-known treasure in the Valley, Anderson served as director from 1985 until he and Stushnoff switched positions in 2011. The choir is delighted that he will step into a singing role, keeping his knowledge and experience in the fold and adding his voice to the tenor section. One of the choir’s own, Danielle Sonntag, will step up to fill his seat on the bench. Having completed her Level 10 Piano, University Music courses, and starting to teach piano lessons to her own group of students, she is currently working on her ARCT (Associate Diploma) with the Royal Academy of Music. BVS welcomes both Danielle and Morgan!

Pending any new COVID restrictions that may arise, the choir is planning to start a Spring 2022 season on Jan. 18 (registration starting at 6:30 pm) and is inviting all past, present, and new singers to join them. For details of location, stay tuned for more information from the contacts listed below.

Are you interested in singing with a group? No experience is necessary! Learn to read music and acquire new musical skills through four months of weekly Tuesday practice, culminating in a spring concert at the Kootenay River Secondary School Theatre. A fee of $50 covers the whole season. Find more details on the Blossom Valley Singers facebook page, at our soon-to-be re-launched website (www.blossomvalleysingers.com, by sending an inquiry to bvscreston@gmail.com, or by calling/texting BVS President Linda Wallace at 250-402-9495. Due to the nature of this activity, all participants must be double vaccinated to participate, and masks are mandatory, as per BC Choir Federation recommendations. Masks will be provided to singers.

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