Soundscape Chorus 1995 to Present
Soundscape chorus began as a group of 19 men and women singing backup under the direction of Joey Minshall for Brenda Johima at her career launching, Living a Dream, at The Eastside Cultural Center in December 1995. Soundscape had intended only the one performance, but had such an enjoyable time that they just didn’t want to stop, so they convinced Joey to direct them into new singing adventures.
The next years were more recreational and educational than performance-oriented, but always focused on the enjoyment of singing together and building individual and ensemble singing skills along with building community.
The chorus experimented freely and unabashedly with auditioning and not auditioning, singing with accompaniment vs. singing a cappella, and trying out different musical styles from classical choral, jazz, gospel and world music to pop, contemporary and Broadway. Through these experiences the chorus gradually found its niche as a unique mixed-voice, auditioned, a cappella community choir; the only one in Surrey.
In the early years, Soundscape held a very informal annual performance in June for an audience of mostly friends and family. These year-end concerts were more party than show, featuring hearty audience participation and appreciation. Guest performers, amateur and professional, often shared our stage.
Joey Minshall, renowned Sweet Adelines International arranger and master director, continued to direct Soundscape from its inception in 1995 until June of 2008. With her high standards of musicality, she had guided and directed the group through its formative years, helping to create its present unique persona. Joey also arranged much of Soundscape’s early repertoire, some of it tailored specifically for the chorus. The chorus grew in confidence and numbers.
When Joey retired from directing in 2008, Soundscape hired Donya Metzger, singer, dancer and newly educated director, to lead them. Donya’s experience in musical theatre and her broad knowledge of popular musical styles brought a new focus to Soundscape. With Donya’s theatrical experience as a foundation, Soundscape grew in its ability to connect more joyfully and emotionally with their audiences and moved into a repertoire that included more contemporary pop and even the odd rock number. The chorus sought performance opportunities and built up their annual June event, staging a show borrowing from the musical theatre tradition in 2013. Enthusiastic audiences showed their appreciation for Soundscape’s newly found writing and acting skills with two sold-out shows!
Donya’s life took a turn towards opportunities for foreign travel and she resigned from directing in 2014. After an extensive director search, Soundscape found a new leader in Donya’s father, Charlie Metzger, a long-time director of various choirs and champion barbershop quartet singer. Given his experience with the Barbershop Harmony Society as a singing judge and teacher of directors, he has built upon the work of Joey and Donya, continuing to develop the singing and performance skills of Soundscape. Charllie is also developing the skills of assistant directors, coaches and small groups from within Soundscape's ranks. Exciting changes are coming this fall too utilizing new techniques that Charlie is bringing from Harmony University.