A Chat with Kent Andrews, our favourite choir director for Vancouver!
“I love the fact this is a choir that’s built around the joy of music. And the by-product of that is not just the incredible natural high that you get, but also the really great friendships that you build along the way.”
And there you have it – the My Pop Choir experience summed up in the words of Kent Andrews, the choir director of the new Vancouver – Mount Pleasant group.
My Pop Choir is new to Vancouver and Kent is excited about its launch on October 5 this fall.
“I think this artistic and community climate will be very conducive to the whole concept of My Pop Choir with its fusion of joy and community and music,” he says.
Kent began directing with My Pop Choir in 2013 in Oakville Ontario, moving shortly afterwards to other Greater Toronto Area locations. A new job opportunity took him west in 2019 and he is delighted that another new position brought him to Vancouver recently, where he plans to stay. “I’ve always been a West Coaster at heart. From the first time I landed on the west coast in my teens, I thought this is where I belong and I will end up here.”
Since he last led a choir in 2019, Kent has been eager to begin directing again. “I have been longing to get back into the choir experience.” He started talking to My Pop Choir owner/director Alex Fiddes about the possibilities, but then the pandemic thwarted their plans. Now it’s time to offer all that makes My Pop Choir special to the Vancouver community.
Kent remembers what first inspired him when he began directing in Oakville: “One thing that stood out to me, what was exciting to me at the time, was how much I quickly fell in love with the concept of My Pop Choir and how it was different from anything I had done in the past. I developed great friendships. It was a joyful experience from the get go.”
Growing up in a musical family, Kent began leading choirs at the age of 19. “My earliest memories are learning piano with my grandmother, and singing as a family.”
With a Royal Conservatory background in piano and voice, Kent says that he has always been drawn to the arts and expression of the arts.
Clearly, the Vancouver - Mount Pleasant choir members will benefit in many ways from Kent’s enthusiasm and musical abilities (not to mention his very evident sense of humour). But what does a choir director gain from the weekly gatherings?
“As much as it is work to lead a session, there is such a sense of satisfaction when you see the joy on people’s faces, when they experience the harmonies for the first time, and when they really nail a song for the first time. That’s the payoff for me. Just that feeling of satisfaction and collective achievement.”
For Kent, the new Mount Pleasant choirs are just the beginning. “I see this as something that I want to do even more moving forward, with possibly more choir directors. We could have groups across the Lower Mainland and even on the Island.”
For Kent, My Pop Choir exemplifies all that is best in community choirs. His goals for Vancouver – Mount Pleasant: “I really want to see that sense of camaraderie, and focus on the joy in music.”