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the Directors

Siobhan Robinsong

Growing up as a non-prodigy in an intensely musical family, Siobhan often felt she must be the “unmusical one.” Now she is a celebrated choir director with a joyful and inclusive approach to music. Siobhan’s background is in psychology and adult education, and she co-founded Hollyhock, Canada’s leading holistic learning centre. At Hollyhock, she trained with Susan Osborn, David Darling, Frankie Armstrong, Ann Mortifee, Ysaye Barnwell, Rhiannon, Chloe Goodchild, and Russill Paul — who all emphasized that singing is for everyone. In 1994, she started the Cortes Island Community Choir. Two years later, she moved to Victoria and founded the non-auditioned Gettin’ Higher Choir, which has steadily grown to its current size of over 300 people.

Denis Donnelly

Denis has co-directed the Gettin’ Higher Choir with Siobhan since 1999. He is also founder/director of Soundings vocal ensemble. Denis is a multi-instrumentalist, a prolific arranger of music for community choirs, and is active as producer of recording projects. As Director of the Victoria Conservatory of Music from 1985–1999, he presided over the acquisition and renovation of the former Metropolitan United Church, including the magnificent Alix Goolden Performance Hall. In 2010 Denis was given the Herbert Drost award by the BC Choral Federation for lifetime achievement in choral music.

Cathy Baker

Cathy grew up in a musical family, and has always loved singing in harmony. She has sung and played numerous instruments with many performing groups over the years, including the a cappella Arioso Trio and several seasons with the GHC. Cathy is in demand for leading song circles and group singing workshops in the region. A graduate of the Community Choir Leadership Training program in 2016, she began co-directing the GHC a year later, including leading choir members at several “Sing When Asked To (SWAT)” community events.

Dick Jackson

Dick has been involved in musical groups nearly all his adult life, and has learned from the many excellent leaders of choirs, bands and opera chorus groups he has been in. He has led small musical combos over the years and has been Music Director of the Capital Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2009. Since completing the Community Choir Leadership Training program in 2017, he has been co-directing the GHC, and accompanying the choir with percussion and piano. Under Denis’ mentorship, Dick has begun to explore arranging choral music.