Phoenix’s final concert of the season, Evolve, is a celebration of finally experiencing the beautiful and important compositions that have been halted during the past two years. This spring concert also marks the beginning for new talent and unique voices being introduced into the choral community, such as that of Timothy Cunningham. Cunningham is a talented young composer and recent graduate of the University of Redlands, where Phoenix Artistic Director, Dr. Nicolle Andrews, is the Director of Choral Studies. Having won the Choral Composition Competition during undergrad in 2019, Cunningham was initially commissioned for Phoenix’s 2020-2021 season to share his piece entitled To Tsampasin. Inspired by medieval chants and Pontic folk songs, Cunningham’s piece meditates on the theme of survival using striking harmonies and rich melodies that invoke a sense of urgency and awe. We share this interview with you to welcome this upcoming composer, and to encourage you to join us in hearing Timothy Cunningham’s piece at our final concert of the 2021-2022 season.

Tell us a little bit about yourself; introduce yourself to our audience.
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Redlands, where I studied Music Composition and Mathematics. During my undergraduate studies, I had many wonderful opportunities to have my works performed both virtually and in-person. My favorite aspect of studying music has been all the exciting collaborations I have been fortunate to have been a part of. Working with other composers, directors, and performers has been deeply fulfilling and inspires me to continue to pursue a career in music.

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Katerina Gimon

Phoenix’s Season of Premieres is an introduction to new compositions and unheard voices, as well as a true investment in emerging composers, such as Katerina Gimon. With her dynamic, eclectic, and poignant compositions, Gimon has become a distinctive rising composer, improviser, and vocalist in contemporary Canadian composition and beyond. Originally commissioned for Phoenix’s 2020 -2021 season, we are so excited to finally premiere Gimon’s piece entitled “Through the Storm”.  A composition originally focused on environmental distress now brilliantly yields a poignant message of hope in our current moment, after having weathered the past two years. We share this interview with you to introduce Gimon as a vital addition to the final concert of Phoenix’s 2021-2022 season: Evolve, in hopes that you might join us in witnessing her magic. 

Now that it’s been two years since you thought Through the Storm would premiere, what have you learned about music composing and/or performing that you didn’t know in February 2020?

I learned that in a world of change we all need art now more than ever! Although it’s been a tough two years, it has been remarkable to see how the musical community has come together even more because of it, which is similar to the inspiration behind Through the Storm. (Even though it was written in late 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic).

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Phoenix’s last concert of this “season of premieres” will be a moment of closure and remembrance, to finally showcase three beautiful works originally commissioned by Phoenix in 2020. One of these pieces is Hatian-American composer Sydney Guillaume’s piece entitled “Nou La,  which encapsulates the loss and unrest of the past two years, capitalizing on the cultural, racial, and social injustices felt worldwide. Guillaume’s piece is a defiant message of resilience,  lifting up silenced voices to remind the world of “Nou La” which translates to “We are Here”. This interview with Sydney Guillaume adds so much richness and meaning to an already significant piece. Please join us for this powerful premiere at our Spring concert: Evolve, happening in person in Vancouver on May 7 or virtually May 14-21. 


Tell us a little bit about yourself; introduce yourself to our audience

Sydney Guillaume: I’m originally from Haiti and moved to the United States with my family when I was young. I started music lessons (piano) in Haiti and continued in Miami. After writing my first choral piece when I was in college, I realized that I could use this platform to showcase a more positive image of Haiti and elevate the Haitian Creole language.

(View Sydney’s full bio here)

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Singers are busy preparing for our final concert of the season, Evolve, taking place on Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 3 PM at Pacific Spirit United Church. Evolve will take listeners on a journey through history. Three world premieres (yes, three!) by composers Sydney Guillaume, Katerina Gimon, and Timothy Cunningham have all been long-awaited and we are elated to finally have an opportunity to perform them live. The repertoire will demonstrate the role and importance of music throughout history and how composers have paved the way to challenge the performers, the listener, and society at large. This concert is bound to be one for the Phoenix ages and displays so much of our growth and goals as we close the curtain on our fourth decade of singing together. We hope that you’ll join us whether in-person in Vancouver on May 7 or virtually beginning May 14. 

For tickets, visit our concert page.

Phoenix is so excited to welcome Ashley Bontje as our new choir administrator.

We announced in January that Emily would be moving on after over 3 years in the position and we could not be more thrilled to have found an excellent fit to replace her in Ashley. She has substantial past choral and musical experience and will be a wonderful advocate and liaison for us. We are eager for our entire Phoenix family to get to know Ashley better, but we asked her a few questions so that we could introduce her to you all.

What role has music played in your own personal development?
Music has touched just about every aspect of my personal and professional life. As a kid, my mom taught me and my sisters to sing and my dad introduced us to a wide range of musical genres. I grew up on Long Island, NY, and sang at home, at church, and in school choirs. I studied Music Composition at Stanford and NYU and began my career in fundraising for the arts. I worked on special events at Carnegie Hall, where I helped put on large gala fundraisers until I left the east coast for the best coast. My husband and I moved to Seattle, where I worked for University of Washington’s performing arts center and Providence Hospital, all the while singing in choirs. We moved to Victoria when our first daughter was one, and decided to stay home with her. In Victoria, I joined a choir and started my own non-audition women’s pop choir. It was my first time conducting a choir, and I absolutely loved it. Read more


Phoenix’s 2021-2022 season is called, Emerge: A Season of Premieres, as we wanted this year to represent various forms of new beginnings and to be able to commission several premieres from talented composers and introduce them to the Phoenix audience. One of those composers is Laura Hawley, whose piece O the Snow, we had the privilege of premiering at our December 11 in-person performance of “Lux.” We are sharing our interview with Hawley now in hopes that this inspires you and your household to tune into the digital broadcast of “Lux” beginning Saturday, December 18 and running through New Years Day 2022.

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Christmas is not only the season of delightfully familiar carols, but it’s also a season of giving and spreading love!

It’s no secret that in Vancouver, the winters are cold and damp and many people do not have access to warm, dry socks, or basic personal hygiene items.

Phoenix as a community values giving back and doing our part to ensure our whole community is thriving.
Because of this, we are partnering with First United Church Community Ministry and Atira Women’s Resource Society to provide new, unopened socks and personal hygiene items for folks in our city who may need them this winter.

Please bring a new, unopened, warm pair of socks or personal hygiene item (shampoo, toothbrush, feminine hygiene, lotion, etc) to our Christmas concerts on December 11, and receive a free ticket to our holiday raffle!

Atira has been on the front lines of the fight for gender equality and supporting women and children affected by violence for over 35 years. They offer housing for women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and across the Lower Mainland, as well as integrated programs such as outreach, family care, and education in order to empower women and work to end all forms of gendered violence.

When you bring an item to donate at our Christmas concerts, you are providing a basic need for the women and children Atira serves. Thank you!

Please visit to learn more.



First United Church is located in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where their team meets everyday needs including housing and shelter, meals, advocacy, and holistic programming. Their vision is to see a neighbourhood where everyone is celebrated and all people can thrive, and Phoenix is excited to be joining the wonderful team at First United in that this winter.

Donations at our concert will go to the many individuals First United serves throughout the year.

Learn about First United’s programs and work at 

Why socks?

Like we mentioned, socks are a tremendous need for various organizations and shelters during the winter months in particular, but socks also have a newfound special meaning in our #PhoenixFamily.

We discovered Nicholle Andrews, our artistic director, prefers to conduct without shoes! While it might be silly, this small, personal habit though has inspired us to give back in a special Phoenix way around our Christmas concerts. As a reminder: anyone who bring socks or a personal hygiene item for our service project to our concerts will receive a free raffle ticket as a thank you from Phoenix!

And oh, yes, we will all be singing in our socks at our concert. Feel free to join in on the fun by wearing your festive footwear as well!

We are very excited to announce that our In-Person performance of Passions is now SOLD OUT!! We are very grateful for all our supporters and ticket buyers for putting their trust and investment in us, and we can’t wait to share some live music with you tomorrow night!

Don’t worry though! There is no cap on tickets for our online event, which will be available online from October 30th – November 6th. The online concert will feature live recordings from the in-person event, as well as some pre- and post- recorded extras!

Purchase Online Concert Tickets

As a part of Phoenix’s commitment to accessibility and transparency, we have decided to alter how we sell tickets:

In this 2021-2022 season, all ticket sales for both online and in-person concerts will be sold for only $10.


Over the last year we have all become vividly aware of the disparity in our world, and Phoenix is committed to making sure that anyone who wants to listen to the choir can listen to the choir. Historically, we have entertained student and senior discounts but in light of Covid-19 and rising conversations around social equity, we feel it is important to provide each person with the opportunity and the choice to enjoy Phoenix’s performances.

Like many small nonprofits of our stature, Phoenix was sustained by the generous support of our audience in 2020 and 2021. Our gratitude for this cannot be expressed enough.

We are asking those that are able, to consider adding a donation to their ticket price. We have provided suggested donations based on Phoenix’s costs and investment in our programme, however, we offer those as mere suggestions. What’s most important to us is seeing people of all classes, colours, creeds, and communities engaging with the power of choral music. All ticket donations over $25 will be eligible to receive a tax receipt; and for any donation made on an in-person ticket purchase, we would love to gift you with free access to our online concert so that you can share the concert experience with your friends or experience it again yourself from the comfort of your home.

Please know that 100% of donations will go to Phoenix’s operation and production costs as well as allowing for the commissioning of more premieres from underrepresented artists: women, youth, and artists in the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities; as well as developmental opportunities for our singers.

Thank you in advance for your support and excitement for Emerge: A Season of Premieres!


Click Here to Learn More About our Season

Click Here to Learn more about our Covid-19 Protocols this season

Phoenix Chamber Choir faced the same excruciating decisions and circumstances of choirs worldwide in 2020 and 2021, and when mere survival was the goal, we thrived. Several virtual choir parodies and successful virtual events put Phoenix on the global stage; and the anguish of political strife, the grief of the pandemic, and the spotlight on racial injustice called us to double down on our values and purpose as a group looking to bring light into the world through music.

We are so excited to build on this and bring you more this fall in our 2021-2022 season:



The season will include several performances, a tour to Ottawa and Montreal, and will explore deep, complex issues in the way that only music can. Phoenix has proudly commissioned several premieres by a diverse array of composers from across North America to be featured in each concert. We hopefully invite you to experience the power of choral music in both message and experience, whether you are a newcomer or a longtime Phoenix friend.

“As we look toward our new season titled ‘Emerge, a Season of Premieres,’ I am confident that collectively we are going to experience many ‘firsts’,” said Phoenix Artistic Director, Dr. Nicholle Andrews. “During the pandemic we were afforded the opportunity to reflect, both personally and as an organization, and allow ourselves the time to ask who we are and what is our purpose.”

We will perform three concerts in Vancouver before taking our final performance on the road in July 2022. In-person concerts will follow all provincial health guidelines according to the season they happen, but we are elated at the prospect of seeing actual faces light up at the sound of live voices. We remain committed to offering virtual experiences to the Phoenix global audience as well.

‘Passions’ will feature repertoire performed with the intention to evoke a passionate emotional response in both the performer and listener. The world premiere of a commissioned work by Canadian composer Alex Eddington will highlight the collaborative nature of Phoenix.

‘Lux’ will bring light into your holiday season. Performing music from around the world, this concert will also feature the world premiere of a commissioned work by Canadian composer Laura Hawley.

‘Evolve’ will bring the audience on a walk through history. From the music of Hildegard von Bingen to the world premiered of a commissioned work by Haitian/ American composer Sydney Guillaume, Canadian composer Katerina Gimon and the winner of our first Student Composition Competition, Timothy Cunningham, the repertoire will demonstrate how music has both evolved throughout history and composers have paved the way to challenge the performers, the listener and society.

Voyager: our Phoenix Family will embark on a tour to Montreal and Ottawa where we will share the music of our 2021/2022 season.”


Tickets and season subscriptions will be available September 1.