In January of 1984, two Blackburn Hamlet neighbours, Irene Thompson and Joan Eustace, gathered a small group of 17 people who liked to sing. Little did they know that this small group, first known as Blackburn Chorus, would quickly evolve into one of the premier Community Choirs of this city. We took on our new name – Coro Vivo Ottawa (lively choir) in 2006 to better reflect the way we had evolved.
We were a group who believed in working hard with weekly rehearsals, bi-annual concerts and participation in lots of community events – but we also knew how to play – creating close bonds of friendship and support that endure to this day. Our annual workshops at CAMMAC (Canadian Amateur Musicans/Musiciens amateurs du Canada) (which began as a 10th Anniversary project) are a great example of this unique work/play balance.
We’ve always been blessed to have wonderful professionals guiding us and working with us along the way. David Chin became our director in 1989, leading our growth and development until his retirement in 2009 when Antonio Llaca took the helm. We have also been fortunate to have Louise Léveillé as our accompanist, for over 30 years.
Volunteers are what makes things happen in life – and our choir is rich! Multitalented, enthusiastic people who are willing to share their gifts – writing, technical, décor, costuming, fund raising, project organizing, etc – that’s the secret of success! There has always been a strong and effective volunteer Administration committee to lead the way – including a sponsorship program which has been the envy of other choirs.
Of course, music is our “raison d’être“, and we’ve done it all! Classical; spirituals; madrigals; folk songs; Broadway and show tunes; pop music including a full concert of the Beatles. We’ve danced and acted and have sung in countless different languages. Many of our concerts have been performed in the sanctuary of Orleans United Church, with our own grand piano – but we’ve had the pleasure of singing in most of the premier concert venues throughout the city.
We’ve had wonderful opportunities to “take the show on the road”, with travels to Germany, Nova Scotia, Toronto, Newfoundland, Cuba and New York City.
Going forward, we are excited by the fact that the history of the choir is still being made and we anticipate adding many more significant events in the life of Coro Vivo – a Lively Choir.