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Finding Our Voices During the Pandemic: How the Twin Rivers Choir Kept Going

Updated: May 17, 2022

Twin Rivers Community Choir is located in the West Kootenay community of Castlegar, BC.

The choir was established in 2010 and has grown each year in popularity, membership and

community support. By Christmas of 2020 the choir had grown to 51 choristers and performed

to three sold out Christmas Concerts. Our wonderful director, Christina Allen (Nolan) was

awarded Castlegar’s 2018 Citizen of the Year, in part for the positive impact that our choir

contributes to the community.

Once the pandemic hit, like all choirs, we ceased to rehearse in person. Determined to not lose

our momentum, our choir stayed connected and active during the pandemic through virtual projects. These projects required a tremendous amount of effort from the Board of Directors

and Artistic Director. The projects began in July 2020 and carried on through July 2021.

Over these 12 months, the choir rehearsed, recorded, mixed, edited and published a total of 10 YouTube videos!

Thanks to funding from several local partners we were able to offset costs and make the projects affordable and enjoyable for the participants. These projects entailed monthly meetings, weekly sectional rehearsals, individual and group recordings, as well as learning and adopting new platforms like Dropbox and Zoom. When weather and health restrictions permitted, we also held a few outdoor (masked and socially distanced) single song rehearsals. Not all of our singers chose to join the virtual projects but we were able to include many friends and family from outside our geographical region. We had singers join us from as far away as Romania and four Canadian provinces (BC, AB, MB, ON). We were also pleased to include visual contributions from the West Kootenay Camera Club and other community organizations adding local interest to our projects during this challenging time.

After intense research and planning with information (and much thanks) from BC Health, BC

Choral Federation, Canadian Choral Federation, National Association of Teachers of Singing and

the American Choral Directors Association, we developed policy and protocol for safe in-person

rehearsing. It was no easy task! We were able to offer safe singing opportunities to our community, both locally and abroad. As a result, we began our Fall 2021 season doing hybrid

in-person (fully vaccinated, masked, socially distanced) and simultaneous online (Zoom)

rehearsals. We currently have 42 registered in-person and virtual members. As we begin to

bring our choir community back together, we hope that 2022 will continue to elicit more good


Do you want to stay in touch with what’s happening with the Twin Rivers Community Choir?

Be sure to Like and Follow our Facebook page, or check out all our videos on the Twin Rivers Community Choir Youtube channel HERE.

You can read our Castlegar News article HERE.

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