History of the Suncoast Phoenix Community Choir

The Suncoast Phoenix Community Choir is a combination of two earlier choirs that existed here on the Sunshine Coast.

The Suncoast Singers started in 2006. Two friends, Pat Lilly and Joy McLeod, dreamed together of a new community choir. Joy was a well experienced choral director recently arrived from Vancouver Island. They held an information meeting in the summer of 2006. People were excited. In September of that year the Suncoast Singers was off and running with 28 members. Joy became the first Director, and introduced an eclectic mix of folk songs, contemporary popular songs and her beloved classical works. She put the “community” into community choir, remembering birthdays, sending “Get Well” cards and making sure we knew and cared for each other. The Suncoast Singers started meeting at Faith Lutheran Church in Davis Bay, but soon moved to the Sechelt Art Centre, attracting singers from up and down the coast.

Coast Phoenix Singers began in 2007 when Bill Bourns moved to the Sunshine Coast from North Vancouver. Bill was an experienced choir director and organist with extensive experience in community and church choirs. Under his directorship, the Coast Phoenix Singers began operations in Gibsons in 2007, with 19 members. The choir rehearsed in the activity room of the new seniors’ residence, Christenson Village. Residents were invited to attend weekly rehearsals as the audience. Repertoire included both the classics, and more light-hearted contemporary music such as Gilbert and Sullivan. At the same time, Bill continued his affiliation with choral and stage production groups in the Fraser Valley. Their members were very supportive of Coast Phoenix Singers, participating in fund-raisers and lending music to the emerging new choir.

Sadly, Bill Bourns’ health failed and in 2012 he died from cancer. The Coast Phoenix Singers began a search for a new director and discovered Michael Grice. Michael had recently retired to the Sunshine Coast after many years` experience with community, church and school ensembles. He agreed to direct the Coast Phoenix Singers, starting in September 2012.

Then, in December of 2012, Joy McLeod decided to step down from directing the Suncoast Singers. At that pivotal point, the two choirs, Suncoast Singers and Coast Phoenix Singers, realized they had both been meeting the same evening; Thursdays, one in Sechelt and one in Gibsons. The Coast Phoenix Singers and their new director, Michael Grice, broached the idea of a joint choir which was welcomed with enthusiasm by the Suncoast Singers.

And so, in January 2013 we became the Suncoast Phoenix Community Choir, meeting at a halfway point, Davis Bay. Michael continued to direct the new combined choir with his unique combination of precision and flare, until his move to Quebec in the summer of 2014.

At this point in our history, we have had the very good fortune to engage the talented and effervescent Sara Douglas to direct our choir, and we look forward to an exciting future.