For the past nine years, Jo-Anne Preston has been the guiding force and dedicated director of Island Voices Chamber Choir. Now, Island Voices will honour her work by providing a bursary to a local singer.
Preston’s contribution to the musical life of Campbell River goes back decades. In her first years in town she taught high school music and served as the conductor of Campbell River Singers from 1979 to 1984, when she passed the baton to her good friend, Frances Keen. When, in 1997, Keen founded the Island Voices Chamber Choir with singers from Denman, Quadra and the big Island in between, Preston was an eager founding member of the soprano section.
During Keen’s struggle with cancer, Preston increasingly shared the conducting duties and with Keen’s passing in 2006, Preston stepped forward to lead the choir. Under her guidance, Island Voices has recorded a CD of Christmas choral music, competed at the Choral Kathaumixw in Powell River and entertained audiences up and down the island.
Island Voices has a new director in Jenn Forsland, well-known to audiences in the Comox Valley as a singer and conductor, and Preston has resumed her role as a pillar of the soprano section. To recognize the huge contribution that Preston has made to the development of the choir, Island Voices has announced a bursary in her name. Intended to assist a young singer in his or her musical studies, the Jo-Anne Preston Bursary will be awarded each year to a promising young musician.
For more information about Island Voices, including upcoming concerts on Saturday, April 18, in Campbell River and on Sunday, April 19 in Comox visit www.islandvoiceschamberchoir.bc.ca.