Founder and Artistic Director Emerita

Thank you, Fiona Blackburn!

We said a fond farewell to our beloved Artistic Director, Fiona Blackburn as of July 2022.

Having completed some 22 years of inspired leadership, Fiona directed and encouraged more than 1000 singers, ranging in age from six to 18 and divided into choir levels under the names Vox Angelica, Serietta, Bella Voce and Allegria. She also took senior choir members on 10 major national and international tours. One memorable tour was the 2018 trip to Wales, to participate in the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod competition. There the choir achieved great distinction as Fiona led them in a winning performance which enabled them to bring the ‘Children’s Choir of the World’ trophy to Canada.

A brief history of Fiona’s accomplishments

Fiona was hired as Artistic Director of AcademyWest Schola Cantorum in
2000. The choir’s official name changed to British Columbia Girls Choir in 2004. Highlights of the past 22 years include:

  • regular participation at the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival which resulted in recommendations to the Performing Arts BC Festival and numerous BC representations to the National Music Festival;
  • winning the 2008 Elmer Iseler Award for the best performance of a Canadian work at the renowned International Choral Kathaumixw;
  • three appearances at the 2010 Winter Olympics;
  • winning the 2018 Children’s Choir of the World award at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales;
  • guest appearances with such artists as the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Elektra Women’s Choir, Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, the Sea to Sky Symphony, opera superstar Ben Heppner and world-famous singing groups The Nylons and The Tenors;
  • touring in 15 countries including Australia, China, Canada, United States, Costa Rica, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Holland, Croatia, Austria, Slovenia, and Italy; and
  • singing in unique places such as a Roman amphitheatre, at Scottish Highland Games, in caves in Croatia, in the gardens at Mirabell Palace where The Sound of Music was filmed in Austria, and a live event on Croatian TV.Throughout Fiona’s tenure, BCGC’s reputation for musical excellence flourished, whether in concerts, recordings, festivals, camps, community outreach events, or tours. Beloved by singers and parents alike, her vision, leadership and commitment to Canadian music and composers brought the choir to the pinnacle of excellence. We are deeply grateful for all that Fiona brought to BCGC and wish her many more years of inspired music making.The Society’s Board voted unanimously to bestow upon Fiona Blackburn the title of Artistic Director Emerita. This will be announced at the Choir’s June 2023 concert. For those not familiar with the term ’emerita’, it recognizes a person retired from a professional position but permitted to retain their title as an honour. The Board is exceedingly pleased to take this action and considers this title richly deserved. Congratulations Fiona!