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The People Behind the Voices

This post is very special because we feature the person behind ALL the voices in the choir: Janet Robb, our accompanist. She is very well known in our community as an outstanding pianist, teacher and accompanist and we have always known that we are very lucky to have her. I thought I knew Janet very well, but there is a lot here that I didn't know. I will let her tell you herself.

" I can’t remember a time in my life that music wasn’t a part of what I do, starting with singing in the Woodstock Rotary Festival at the age of 6 which led to being allowed to start piano lessons. There was always music in our house, from my father and his brothers playing the fiddle and mandolin to my uncle and cousins on the bagpipes. Some of my fondest memories are sitting on a piano bench because someone had to chord along with those fiddle tunes. And there was always singing.

My piano teacher was also my junior church choir director, so when I was about 10 she decided that it would be easier for her to conduct the choir if someone else was playing, and so my accompanying career began. That led to playing for school musical events, student Music Festival performances, choirs, theatre, etc. etc.

I even met my husband through music, with our mutual piano teacher playing matchmaker!

I have been with the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers since 1997. I was at a point in my musical life where I felt I needed a challenge and, as a WFS audience member, I very much enjoyed the music I was hearing. I have always loved working with choirs. There is magic in taking a bunch of odd symbols on a piece of paper and, working together as a group, going all the way through the process to performance. Together you present what you believe the composer was feeling when the music was written. Unlike solo singing, in a choir there is always the need to be aware of and sensitive to those around you. Singing together has a way of bringing people together in a way that’s hard to describe unless you are participating. I also have the privilege of working as performance pianist for the Woodstock Fanshawe Youth Singers. The time I spend with this delightful group of young people gives me faith that the next generation is in good hands.

I think Oxford County is so fortunate to have a variety of musical opportunities to enjoy, all very different. WFS showcases a wide range of music from traditional to contemporary. There is a focus on music written by Canadian composers, giving our audiences the opportunity to discover music they might not otherwise hear. I think my favourite song on the spring concert list, although not Canadian, is Bob Chilcott’s “In the Heart of the World”. It is a reminder that no matter what is going on in the world, we must keep singing.

In my other life, I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my 3 grandchildren. Hobbies include gardening, knitting, and, it may come as a surprise to some…fishing. In fact, one of my favourite places is in a small boat in the middle of a small lake in the Haliburton Highlands. There I can listen to a whole different kind of music!"

Choristers, click for WFS Chorister Information.2015-16





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