Soundwaves - The Tofino Community Choir

by Martha Thomas, Tofino


Tofino’s community choir is making waves – sound waves, that is. When a pebble is thrown in a pond it makes a ripple, a vibration that travels outwards and can affect every fish in that pond, whether near or far. Some fish may swim away in fear. Some may swim closer to see what is making the vibration – sounds interesting.

The same thing is happening every Tuesday evening at the Community School. A group of us are making those ripples, creating vibrations and harmonies with our voices. As we do so, more and more people are coming to see and join us, from as far as Long Beach and Ucluelet. We are a growing group, and the vibrations are extending further and further. We are no longer a tiny pebble. We are a rock.

The community choir was inspired by Shivon Robinsong last spring when she came to our Tofino pond to get us singing. With the workshop, “Sing for Your Life”, she helped us to raise our voices, hearts and spirits as we conspired together; that is to say, breathing together and making sound. And not just any sound, but wonderful harmonies with many voices.

It was a slow start from there, with just a few die hard singers meeting at first. But this fall and winter has shown that many are wanting to sing, and not just those who have full confidence with their voices, but the shy ones with little or no experience as well. Many of us have been musically wounded at some point in our lives, having been told, “You can’t sing,” or “You are tone deaf”. Some who come to sing are recovering from this wound. Shivon Robinsong speaks the truth when she tells people, “Anyone can learn to sing.” And so with a commitment to the choir, people can learn to sing and heal from this erroneous belief. We have created a safe, encouraging, non-judgmental place for people to come and find their voice; then, to let it out. Every week I see people of our communities come together and share this love of song and singing. And when we are not singing, there are smiles and laughter all around. It is truly a wonderful way to lift your spirits and to heal those musical wounds we may have.

In our choir, we help the voice by doing focused warm-ups. As we do so, we build confidence and improve the song bird in all of us. The choir is led by one of our newest community members, Sandi Rideout, who brings many years of experience in the field of music and song. With her expertise, she leads us through a whole array of multicultural music, with selections from Japan and South Africa. We are especially grateful for her as she keeps us all in line and in key!

We are excited, too, to let the community know that Shivon Robinsong – our inspiration – is returning to Tofino on the weekend of June 5th and 6th to present another vocal workshop. If you haven’t had the astonishing experience of working with Shivon, don’t miss it. You’ll be amazed at what she can help you to achieve! Watch for further information as the time draws nearer.

So, all of you who love to sing in the shower, on the beach, or in the woods – come and join us! Cast the fears and shyness away and let your voice be heard in this relaxed and supportive environment. Remember, it’s about having fun, learning and growing together in song.

You can check out our choir, “Sound Waves” at the Wickanninish Community School every Tuesday at 7:00p.m. You can also catch us in concert at the upcoming Hospice Society fundraiser on May 28th at the Clayoquot Community Theatre (watch for more info coming soon). Hope to see you there!

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Soundwaves - Tofino's community choir - was inspired by Shivon Robinsong and meets every Tuesday in Tofino.
tofino time may 2004

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