Musical Leadership

Conductor Nicholas Fairbank

Nicholas Fairbank grew up on the West Coast. He had his first job as a choir director thrust upon him while still in high school after the music teacher suddenly left before the end of the year. The 16-year-old was asked to play the organ and train the choir for the graduation service in the school chapel. Then at age 18 he began his first professional church job, the first of many in a 45-year musical career.

After early studies in Vancouver (piano with Michael Longton, Robert Cooper & Audrey Mallinson, pipe organ with Suzanne Gibson & Patrick Wedd) he pursued advanced musical training in London, England and Paris, France, studying organ with Christopher Herrick, Richard Popplewell and Naji Hakim. He earned Master’s degrees from the Université de Paris (Musicology & French literature), the University of California at Santa Barbara (French language and pedagogy), and the University of Victoria (Music Composition), as well as Associateship diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music (gold medal winner for pipe organ, 1981), and the Royal Canadian College of Organists (Willan and Barker prizes 1998). He is also an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre and his music has received performances across North America and in Europe.

Headshot of Conductor Nicholas Fairbank

As well as being the Conductor of the Sooke Community Choir, Mr. Fairbank is Music Director at First Unitarian Church of Victoria and Chorus Master of the Sooke Philharmonic.

Pianist Allie Picketts

Headshot of Pianist Allie Picketts

Allie Picketts is a musician and poet with many years of teaching, writing, editing, and performing experience. She was born and raised on the stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), scəw̓aθən (Tsawwassen), and other Coast Salish Peoples, and is thankful to have lived within the traditional territory of the T'Sou-ke Nation since 2010, with the exception of three years in the Cayman Islands. Allie received her ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music and her Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria, both in piano performance, and is a registered music teacher with the BCRMTA. She can normally be found with an instrument, in the forest, or both.

Workshop Leader Laura Dowhy

Laura has been alto in our choir since the early 90s and was the accompanist for several years. Her family has lived in Sooke since 1974. Her education includes an A.R.C.T. in piano performance and a B.Ed from U.B.C. majoring in Music and Drama. She still teaches privately.

“The Sooke Community Choir is a social experience with the common goal of preparing and sharing musical performances. I love our choir and do all I can to help the choir thrive. I have volunteered on the executive many times. Currently I am a back-up conductor for
rehearsals and I help with the music library.”

Headshot of Laura Dowhy

Voice Coach Nancy Washeim

Headshot of Soprano Nancy Washeim

Soprano Nancy Washeim’s national and international career has featured solo performances with a wide range of musical organizations, including the McGill Baroque Orchestra, McGill Symphony Orchestra, London (England) Bach Festival and the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Broadcast appearances have included Bach’s Cantata BWV51: Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, aired by Radio Canada.

Nancy has enjoyed numerous performances with the Victoria Chamber Orchestra, Victoria Philharmonic Choir, Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, Vancouver Island Symphony, Vancouver Handel Society, Okanagan Festival Singers, Victoria Choral Society, and the Victoria Baroque Players. Most recently, Nancy’s passion for the voice led her to continued studies where she received her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology.

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