In its first year, the Fraser Valley Children’s Choir (FVCC) has made some incredible achievements. And on June 4, the culmination of their efforts will be celebrated when the Hon. Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, visits Chilliwack to celebrate the FVCC winning a first place award (in the under 18 category) in the ‘Sing Me a Song’ contest.
The competition, which is in its fifth year and was kicked off in January by former Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, gives musical groups of all ages and genres the opportunity to write and sing an original song about B.C. in the lead-up to 2021, the 150th anniversary of the province entering the Confederation.
“I saw that Yarrow had a need for artistic activities for kids,” said Heidi Epp, the FVCC’s artistic director and founder. “We needed something within the community, and (fine arts) is the best thing I know.”
Epp, who moved to Yarrow four years ago from Richmond, has always been involved with music and acting, so with the help of some community and family members, she created the Yarrow Choral and Performing Arts Society, which runs the FVCC as one of its program mandates.
Then this winter, through a Facebook post, she learned about the ‘Sing Me a Song’ contest, and proposed entering to her choir’s 11 members.
“They didn’t know how to write a song, but I said, ‘I’ll show you how to go about it,’” said Epp.
First, Epp says she asked the group, which ranges in age from eight- to 12 years old, to think about B.C. “I asked them to list everything they loved about (the province), and to describe what really mattered to them.
“Then I said, ‘Let’s talk about our feelings and make associations: which feelings connect when you think about what you love? Now put that in a phrase.’”
After adding in a simple cord, Epp says the first phrase of the group’s song, The Heart of Beautiful B.C., was written.
“We started writing the song in February,” continued Epp. “It was written by mid-March and submitted by the end of March.
“We performed it for the public for the first time on March 17, and filmed the video during spring break all around Yarrow, the Vedder River, and my backyard.”
And now they’ll be performing it for the rest of Chilliwack when Lt.-Gov Austin arrives to award them their first place prize, which also comes with $1,000.
“We’re using the money to develop the program and help with costs and auditioning,” said Epp.
In addition to winning ‘Sing Me a Song,’ Epp says the FVCC has had a very successful first year. “We’ve worked with four other choirs, collaborated with the Chilliwack Youth Orchestra, and will have our very own float in the Yarrow Days parade.”
As for The Heart of Beautiful B.C., Epp says she’s written additional violin music for the compostion, which the Society plans on publishing to share with other childrens’ choirs.
“The song’s message is strong—a lot stronger than others might ever risk—and we want to share that.”
The award ceremony will take place Monday, June 4, at 6:00 p.m., at the Yarrow United Mennonite Church. And although admission is free, for security purposes, guests are asked to register for a ticket on their EventBrite.ca listing.
For more information about the Fraser Valley Children’s Choir, please visit their website, FVCC.ca