Meet the artistic team
Fiona Blackburn, Artistic Director
Fiona Blackburn’s eclectic musical career has included: performing as a classically trained soloist and recording artist; teaching voice and adjudicating festivals; conducting choirs and educating in classrooms. From the University of British Columbia, Fiona earned a BMus in voice performance, a BEd in secondary music, and an MMus in choral conducting. She has sung and toured with some of Canada’s leading ensembles, orchestras & opera companies, and she has recorded two albums of Celtic music, which have received rave reviews and international airplay.
Fiona even performed for five summers on an Alaskan cruise ship! For almost two decades, Fiona has enjoyed working with choral singers of all ages. She has been the Artistic Director of the British Columbia Girls Choir since its inception and is excited to lead the next generation of girls towards achieving excellence – both on and off the stage.
Fiona has also been an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of BC. She is currently on the faculties of both the Vancouver School District’s Artist in Residence Program and the BC Choral Federation’s summer intensive Choral Directorship Course. Fiona acknowledges the support of many mentors, who have helped shaped her understanding and love of the Choral Arts; in particular, Maestros Jon Washburn, Bruce Pullan, Henry Leck and Dr. Graeme Langager. Fiona’s passion is to create an environment in which each singer may explore her full vocal potential, while singing musical literature that is: rich in history and poetry; significant as choral masterpieces; moving, thought-provoking and uplifting; and, just as importantly, is fun!
Karen Roeck, Assistant Choral Director
Karen’s creative and diverse teaching style has inspired students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Her choirs have received gold-level recognition at festivals throughout British Columbia and she has conducted at many of Vancouver’s finest venues—once with the King of Greece in the audience!
Karen holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of British Columbia (B.Mus., B.Ed.) and recently completed a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at Trinity Western University. For her work during her practicum year, Karen was awarded the Don Wright Scholarship for excellence in choral education.
Karen has studied under many inspirational conductors, including Dr. Graeme Langager, Dr. Geoffrey Boers, Richard Nace, Elaine Quilichini, and Bruce Pullan. She spent nine years singing as a second soprano with Higher Ground Women’s Ensemble under the direction of Janet Warren, who has been a key mentor and role model in developing Karen’s approach to conducting and working with an ensemble.
Karen recognizes the significance of creating a safe and inclusive community of singers who are working towards a common goal of musical excellence. She is passionate about speaking into the lives of girls and young women not only through quality musical instruction, but also by teaching them the value of community, teamwork, and serving those around them.
Eric Hominick, Accompanist
Eric Hominick studied piano at the Toronto Conservatory and voice at Dalhousie University. He has been faculty at Vancouver Community College, Douglas College and TOOBA Physical Theatre Centre; singer and pianist with the Vancouver Chamber Choir; and regular accompanist for Elektra Women’s Choir, BC Girls Choir and Vancouver Children’s Choir. He teaches voice and piano; is an accompanist, arranger, bass soloist, rehearsal, show pianist, cruise ship entertainer and more!
Amy Laithwaite, Choreographer
Amy graduated from the National Ballet School in 2004 with a Three Year Teacher’s Diploma (Dip NBS Ttp): Honours standing. She was awarded the Carole Chadwick Scholarship for most promising teacher and earned Honours for her Cecchetti Associate Teachers qualification. As a young dancer, she trained at the Coquitlam School of Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and has worked with renowned artists such as Veronica Tennant and Karen Kain. Amy is now a highly sought-after teacher at ballet schools around Metro Vancouver.