I went to the first session and I had so much fun!! Sandi and Jeremy are such warm and welcoming people and can make anyone feel at home. I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun singing. It is a choir that anyone can join and everyone should. It is such a fun environment to be in where laughing and smiling are contagious. I would recommend this choir to anyone who is looking to have a fun time singing. I am so glad I found this choir!
“I left the choir practice feeling very inspired and am reconnecting with my passion for music. This, along with the fun atmosphere keeps me coming back!”
My friend Martha once shared with me that she had joined a non-audition choir for people who didn’t necessarily need to be great at singing. At that time there were 150 members (now grown to 175) and the anonymity that number promised was appealing to me………..I am definitely not a solo kind of gal (for very good reason). However I did grow up listening to all the old musical sound tracks (“Just you wait ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait….”, etc) and my sisters and I, even in adulthood still get a kick out of breaking suddenly into unabashed, spirited renditions of “The Hills Are Alive” for our own entertainment. So we knew singing could be fun. But could we let go of our feigned British accents and flourishes and be semi-serious about it? We discussed it one afternoon and my sisters and I thought we might be brave enough to try. I believe there were one or two smirks from our husbands who have, to be fair, been subjected to our raucous musical eruptions over the years. So we suggested they put their money where their smirks were and challenged them to show us what they were made of. Luckily, it was a Sunday afternoon; hence wine had been flowing freely. The brothers-in-law-three, eyeballs rolling, agreed to take up the challenge for one season. That was five years ago and sisters and husbands are still going strong. I would never have dreamed it possible or likely. But there was a key ingredient to our loyal devotion. His name is Jeremy. He’s the real McCoy. An expert at what he does, as well as a comedian who knows his members and draws everyone into hilarity along with some damn good singing. WE ROCKED! And we’re hooked. And we miss him. And if you’re lucky enough to have a chance to sing with him, perhaps you’ll be like my sisters and our husbands and never look back!
I have been in the Spirit’s Call Choir in Winnipeg since 2004. Jeremy took it over in an emergency and grew to become our wonderful musical director for many years. It was great fun being in the choir under his leadership. He really took away any pressure that one might feel about singing. He was able to strike the perfect balance between making people feel completely comfortable and yet still be able to correct mistakes being made. No one ever felt they were being singled out in a negative way, and that is a huge strength. He encouraged people to sing loudly from the heart and not to worry about mistakes. Freely admitting his own, he made people relax and sing from the heart.
What was amazing is that out of all of that fun, we actually made great music. Our concerts were always a huge success, and drew more people into the fold. The choir grew from just a few people to over 160. The person who has now replaced Jeremy as our musical director fell in love with our choir when he stood in for Jeremy once. Although he is a choir conductor elsewhere as well, he says there is something magical about this group. I think it is the spirit that comes through when no one is uptight about their singing. The joy of the singing just shines through and brings a quality to the sound that simply isn’t there when people are hung up on getting it right.
If you have a chance to join Jeremy in creating a new choir like we have here, you will never regret it. One hundred and sixty people can’t be wrong.
When I first joined Spirits Call choir about 10 years ago I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I wanted to bring music back into my life but had never sung harmony, didn’t even know where I fit voicewise. Turns out I was an Alto. The feelings I left with that first day were excitement, elation, a sense of having found what I was looking for.
With Jeremy as music director the afternoons were full of fun, laughter and lots of music of every style and language, the concerts were enjoyed as much by the singers as the audiences. Some of the music challenges he threw at us were scary but we managed to rise to the challenges with his patient and expert guidance.
Jeremy is greatly missed, Winnipeg’s loss is Vancouver’s gain. Thank you Jeremy for everything, especially for finding such a great replacement to direct our choir.
When I started to sing with a choir again after a 44 year lapse, it was with Spirt’s Call Choir, a community choir of about 150.
There are always key people in organisations. One of those in Spirits Call was Jeremy Vallance. As far as I could tell at first, Jeremy was a choir director, and very good at it. Over the next while I learned that he built the choir’s website, integrated an online rehearsal system into the website, worked on the sound files we rehearsed to, and more I am sure.
There was joy in being directed by Jeremy because of his humour. But Imagine directing 150 people who haven’t had any music or singing lessons, many of whom can’t read music, and most have been told they can’t sing. This is quite a feat of music, teaching and psychology. The average conductor would not last. Jeremy not only lasted, but stuck with us for 8 years! That’s the sign of a person whose “yes” really means “YES!” He moulded our voices and sections with patience and joy, and this was reflected in sold-out performances, full rehearsals, much laughter and great joy, a sense of community, and continuous growth of our number. Our choir loved and appreciated him.
Those of us who were lucky enough to have been directed by Jeremy do miss him, but we also wish the best for him. Now that he is in your province, I have this to say; get involved with what he’s doing, or get him involved with what you’re doing, otherwise you’re missing a golden opportunity.
Now, make it so.
Jeremy and the Spirit’s Call Choir helped me find my voice after many years of singing silence. I still vividly recall Grade 2, practicing for the Christmas concert. I practiced for months till I knew all of the songs by heart; my mother said that I sang like a little song bird. The day of the concert the teacher took me aside and asked me if I would just mouth the words that evening because my singing was disturbing the rest of the choir. I was mortified and never sang again, not even when I was alone. All that changed when I met Jeremy and Spirit’s Call. I may not be a great singer, but now I can sing; it has expanded my world in so many ways. Thank you Jeremy for all of the gifts that you have given me.
Two and a half years ago, I was going through a rough decision about the relationship I was in and asked myself what makes me happy. I don’t know if you have ever sat down and asked yourself this, but it can be a little tough to answer.
My first thought that came to mind was singing. I got up and went to my computer and looked up choirs in Winnipeg. I came across Spirits Call. No auditions, everyone can sing! Perfect! It happened to be the end of the fall season and I was informed of the upcoming concert. It was Christmas and I already had plans that day, so I asked if I could possibly sit in on the choir practice the Sunday before the concert. I sat in the Alto section and just listened. At that point Jeremy was working with sectionals, but the moment the choir sang together I felt like I was in heaven. The sound and choral harmony lifted my heart and spirit, and I knew that instant I had to be part of it. Two concerts a year to benefit charity organizations appealed to me because I felt I was giving back as well as benefiting from the whole experience.
I soon found Jeremy to be such a wonderful director. Such a fantastic sense of humor that the hole experience of learning the songs was not stressful but fun! He actually reminds me of Chevy Chase!
He has a way of getting his point across, and is meticulous in teaching pronounciation, tempo, and dynamics of a song to have the end result sound excellent. I learned I had been singing from my throat and not my diaphragm. The breathing techniques and warm ups are so helpful to increase your lung capacity . He taught us songs in Swahili, French and Latin ! I would have never thought I could do that! I have much more confidence with my voice since I joined choir, and Jeremy made that possible.
There was always a lot of laughter and positive energy in the room. I always left choir feeling uplifted and happy.
Jeremy has the unique and innate ability to spark a person’s interest and joy in joining their voices with others in song. His natural musical ability and talent enables people to release their own voice in a comfortable and supportive environment. Performing under Jeremy’s direction is pure delight! His humour and energetic conducting results in laughter and an appreciation for choral harmony. I refer to him as a musical ‘Tiger’ as he coaxes out of everyone a beautiful sound with his springing and leaping antics.”
During a time of emotional struggle, I searched for something new and refreshing, and joined the choir. Learning new songs and skills was exhilarating, and through Margaret’s kind vision and Jeremy’s enthusiastic direction, I became encouraged to return to playing the piano! Just like choir, I knew I didn’t have to be perfect. My passion for music set the course.
I attended a Spirits Call Choir Concert in 2006. I decided to join the choir partly because I enjoyed singing and partly because I had recently separated and needed to fill Sunday afternoons.I filled much more than Sunday afternoons. I felt as if I had a spiritual life again , was singing for a purpose ,and made many friends that I see outside of the choir.Jeremy ,our choir director ,created
an non -threatening , supportive , and humourous environment as he gently pushed us to new heights.We have 140 voices and hearing them in harmony is overwhelming. You have to try it.
I can’t say enough positive things about Jeremy Vallance. I first met when Jeremy and I singing base with him in Spirit’s Call Choir but after losing our director, Jeremy stepped up to the plate to help out. Since then I have watched him evolve from being a good singer to being a great and confident director. Jeremy’s real advantage throughout this process was his intimate knowledge, not just of music but of the timing, expression, connection and the directions needed by his singers. Couple this intuitive personal connection with a keen sense of humor, an excellent ear, an incredible web site developmental talent with an awesome ability to find creative scores and you have huge potential for making wonderful things happen.
Jeremy was keenly involved in the fund raising efforts of the choir was always keen to contribute were his talents helped the most people.
Jeremy is a rising star that shines like because of the intense glow of his inner warmth.
Working with Jeremy for just a year in Spirit’s Call Choir in Winnipeg has been tremendous experience for me. Not only did his expertise in directing our large choir become obvious, but because of his wonderful sense of humour it kept our practices so much fun and made us want to let our voices shine the best we could.
I am not very good at reading music, but the thing that helped me so much was the hours of work Jeremy must have put in to allow us to hear and sing along with our sectional parts while at home. All I needed was my iPad to access our choir website where these individual parts were available to practice and so to build confidence at hitting the right notes. What a difference his hard work behind the scenes made for me!
I started in what was then called Spirit’s Call Choir (non audition!) -9 1/2 years ago when Jeremy was a fellow bass. Within months he moved into the artistic director position. While he majored at the University of Manitoba faculty of music in clarinet he quickly showed a natural talent for choral conducting as he grew in his role as our conductor. It is no small challenge to lead 150 or more voices, many of whom have not sung in choirs previously and who had been told in school choirs to mouth the words! Jeremy picked a fine mix and balance of anthems and had guest instrumentalists embellish our singing at our very well attended concerts.( sell outs in the 600 seat theatre).We sang for personal, choral and global harmony and raised thousands of dollars for humanitarian causes. Jeremy combined his musical talent with a down-to-earth style and a vibrant sense of humor that endeared himself not only to the choir but also to the appreciative audience. Two sisters in their 90s went to the concerts primarily because of their crush on our maestro and because he was so interactive with the audience that he conducted!
As a published song/hymn writer I am delighted that Jeremy is one of about 40 people who has set one or more of my poems to music. “SING!” was well appreciated by the choir, once it learned the intricate notations and harmonic convergences by composer Jeremy and it was sung in two different concerts. His piano accompaniment still stirs my heart. If music is the language of the soul, then Jeremy is a very spirited and soul-full person. I recommend him unconditionally!
(Four of the poems which Spirit-Muse inspired are in the United Church of Canada 2007 hymn book supplement called More Voices – three of them with internationally known Parksville composer Ron Klusmeier.)
Jeremy taught us how to sing, — and he taught us how to sing together.