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Choral Evolution looks to West Shore for new voices

Former members of the Sooke Community Choir make up heart of new vocal group
Bruce Ruddell is the director of Choral Evolution, a new choir looking for members on the West Shore and Sooke. (Photo courtesy of Choral Evolution president Sally Titchkosky)

“Everything from Bach to Metallica and Radiohead.”

That’s how musical director Bruce Ruddell describes the range of material covered by Choral Evolution, a new choir gearing up to perform in Sooke and the West Shore.

The group has its roots in the Sooke Community Choir, said Ruddell, its former director for six years.

“COVID really impacted that group’s ability to stay together,” he said. “A number of our members wanted to continue, so we created a new choir, Choral Evolution, in the spring. Since several of our members live on the West Shore, we decided to broaden our horizons. We wanted to expand out there anyway. There’s got to be many people on the West Shore who want to sing, so it progressed from there.”

The new group’s style focuses on “fabulous arrangements of popular songs across a wide musical spectrum,” Ruddell added.

Participants have someone with an impressive musical pedigree guiding them. Ruddell is a member of the Canadian League of Composers and the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and has also served as composer in residence for the Vancouver Bach Choir and the Vancouver Playhouse. He is a past winner of the Herbert Drost Award from the B.C. Choral Federation and earned a special jury prize at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

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Choral Evolution’s first official task will be to record a song Ruddell composed for a film being made in Sooke, which tells the story of the whale carving that hangs above the atrium at Edward Milne Community School.

“I’ve been a composer all my life, so I was asked to score the film, which is about the finding a great whale that washed up in Sooke in the late ’80s, ” he said. “We will be performing at the gala opening of the film hopefully in November, depending on restrictions. It should be a great inspiration and impetus to surge forward with the new group.”

Although restrictions arising from the pandemic limit the number of members to 25, Ruddell is looking to add some new voices to the current group of 18, with an eye toward eventually getting back to the 60 voices that made up the Sooke Community Choir once restrictions ease.

The goal is to perform concerts in Sooke and the West Shore early in the new year, he added.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Choral Evolution should contact choir president Sally Titchkosky at 250-642-3566. You can also email about COVID protocols and auditions at Holy Trinity Church on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church in Sooke, and Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Church in Colwood.


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