Since its founding in 1988, Viva exists to enrich the lives of the singers, their families and the community. Singers are challenged to attain choral excellence; develop commitment, confidence, and self-discipline; experience the beauty of folk and art music; and bring joy to themselves and to their audiences. Viva believes that music should be available to all children and that this “artistic nutrition” promotes health through its emotional and physical expression.
Not only do we provide music for children in Victoria, but we promote understanding of music and culture from around the world, increasing confidence and citizenship amongst our singers and fulfilling an overall need for excellence through a love of music. Some of our key focuses are:
Vision: Viva strives to make the world a better place. Singers and audiences gain an international perspective through our repertoire, hosting and touring. The choir itself is a community that promotes artistry and cooperation. Within themselves, singers develop self-confidence and discipline, musical abilities, and inner joy.
Repertoire: International folk and art music forms the basis of the Viva experience because these aesthetic adventures are essential to a meaningful life. Only the best is good enough for children, and our musical literature takes singers to levels they don’t encounter anywhere else, whether humourous, introspective, or jubilant. MC Terry Anderson said at World of Children’s Choirs – 2001: “It’s wonderful to hear children making beautiful music; let’s not forget also that beautiful music makes wonderful children”.
Music-making: Singing is one of the most basic human activities, stretching back untold generations, yet threatened in today’s “only for professionals” society.
Excellence: Viva promotes education rather than mere entertainment, and our challenging repertoire necessitates thoughtful preparation. Rehearsals & performances develop a thirst for doing things to the best of one’s ability.
Commitment: We expect regular attendance and performance participation because this is the way to help members reach their full potential as musicians and as numerous citizens of the world.
Staff: Our conductors and accompanists represent the highest standards of both musical and educational expertise, and we care deeply about our singers and the music we all make together.
Administration & Volunteers: we’re organized and motivated to make the music happen!
Our Logo: The Viva hummingbird logo was created by West Coast Native artist Victor Newman. The design incorporates aspects of the three First Nations who settled Vancouver Island: Kwakwaka’wakw (outline), Coast Salish (inside body), and Nuu Chah Nulth (wolf in wing).
In November 2014, Viva rebranded to become “Viva Youth Voices.” Our goal continues as before: Helping youth explore the wondrous world of music through their voices. Like all budding musicians with new instruments, we need to first teach them how to play the instrument before we can take them on that incredible journey. Thus, the new focus of Viva is to teach our members how to use their natural “instrument”. To that end we will offer music classes and individual voice instruction as well as maintaining our choral format. As skills and interests develop, Viva Youth Voices will make available a variety of new venues for vocal expression. As voices and interests develop, together with other musicians, we will explore the exciting worlds of not only large choirs but also of the small ensembles needed to perform rhythm and blues, calypso, folk, gospel, rock and roll, without limits …
Viva Choirs was founded in 1988, as the Greater Victoria Youth Choir, by Connie Foss More in affiliation with the Victoria Conservatory of Music and a parent board. In February of 1994, the organization became a separate society (Victoria Youth Choirs Society) along with PRIMA Youth Choir, which is now part of the University of Victoria. In 2008, the organization was renamed the Viva Youth Choirs Society of Victoria.
Viva has received many honours since 1988. Some highlights are:
- In March of 1997, the Tour Choir accepted a Silver Diploma in an international festival in Budapest, Hungary, and also performed in Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, as well as in Munich and Vienna.
- We attended the 2001 World of Children’s Choirs in Vancouver and hosted international concerts here in Victoria with choirs from Ontario, Mexico, the Czech Republic and New Zealand.
- In 2002 Viva was selected to sing for Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee visit to the BC Parliament Buildings and in the Spring the Tour Choir went on tour to southern England and Wales.
- In May 2006, the Chorale was chosen to perform in the opening concert for ChorPodium, the conference of the national Association of Canadian Choral Conductors (ACCC) and as part of the BC Honour Choir at the combined BC Choral Federation (BCCF) “Chorfest”.
- Viva’s 20th anniversary CD, “Winter Gifts”, received a flattering review by the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors.
- On Nov 1 2008, Concert Choir members performed as guests of the National Arts Centre Orchestra at Victoria’s Royal Theatre.
- On Oct 30, 2009 thirty Viva singers participated in the opening Olympic Torch ceremonies in Victoria, singing in the premiere of Gregory Charles’ “There’s a Light”. In March 2010 all the Viva Intermediate singers performed the song again at the Paralympic Torch Ceremonies in Esquimalt, singing with the Naden Band.
- In April, 2010 the Chorale was awarded the Victoria Commonwealth Community Choir Shield, for ‘outstanding community youth or show choir’ at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival.
- In December, 2010 the Intermediate girls performed Jill Ann Siemen’s “Sempre vicino” with tenor Sanson Paul at the Telus Celebration of Giving at the Laurel Point Inn. See the link on our home page for a “webisode” broadcast about this event.