The 25th Birthday of Society/AGM

                  will take place on Saturday  June 24th, 2017  at 12.00 Noon                       at 3060 Harriet Rd  in  Chown Place Hall.

    Please mark your Calendar!


23rd Birthday of Society and AGM

 Sandy Rempel, President of Chown Place Fellowship who was once on the Board of the Sooke Transition House, welcomed us to the Hall and praised our work lessening homelessness.      

Jo-Anne Layton introduced the Sooke Musicians: Annie Morrisette who played her keyboard and her mandolin; Dave who subtly accompanied her on the violin and Carol who charmed us with her handpan. Jo-Anne herself sang beautifully and led community signing which we all enjoyed. Here is her description of the entertainment:

Carol Whitney, of Sooke, opened the Entertainment aspect of our 2015 AGM by playing the handpan, which, when gently and expertly patted by the palms of the hands, gives different tones from different areas.  Using this instrument, Carol created a solemn and hauntingly beautiful beginning to our meeting.

The instrument family of handpans is relatively young.  The PanArt Hang was invented in 2000 in Bern, Switzerland by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer.  It is related to the Steeldrum from Trinidad and the word “Hang” means “hand” in Berndeutsch. As the name suggests, the hang is usually played with the hands and fingers.  It has a central note which is called the “Ding” and there are 7 or 8 tone circles round it                                                                                                
 The bottom side of the Hang is called the “Gu” side, and it can be played in a percussive way, similar to an Udu, or Ghatam drum.

Although the term “hang drum” is frequently used, according to the makers, the hang is not any kind of drum or hand drum. One reason for this distinction is the fact that when hit too hard, the hang can easily detune. So if you have one, better play your instrument gently.  Some also refer to it as ‘Singing Steel’.

Following this, our entire group engaged in a ‘Sing-Along’ medley consisting of two verses each, chosen from spiritual songs of a bygone era, plus one country style.  With the audience thus ‘nicely warmed up’, Sooke Singers MC and previous VHES Board Member, Jo-Anne Layton, and her fellow performers participated in a few popular tunes, interspersed with music performed by Annie Morissette, on her electric piano.  A gentlemanly ‘Dave’ assisted most of the performers with lovely, subtle, violin playing.  Apparently he has been a life-long violin player, having played internationally, sometimes doing back-up for famous, popular bands!

Jo-Anne sang one emotive song ‘a Capella’ – that is, without musical accompaniment, declaring herself to be a ‘singer’ for the last four months! This is how she met her fellow Sooke musicians who so kindly volunteered today! 

Annie, on her piano, was a huge hit!  When introducing Annie to the audience, Jo-Anne asked for a show of hands from the audience, asking if any of them played a musical instrument.  There were about three hands showing a response.  Jo-Anne then asked “How many of you play the Accordion, Autoharp, Clarinet, Guitar (in training), Harmonica, Mandolin, Maraca, Piano (Acoustic & Electric), Tambourine, Violin and Glockenspiel Xylophone?  Only Annie’s hand could be raised!

Annie has studied at the Royal Victoria Conservatory of Music, done Middle School Music Study, continues with intense ongoing Self-Study, and has taken Courses in Accordion at Tempo-Trend Music.

At age three Annie began showing an interest in playing the piano!  Her first piano was obviously a little child’s piano, but her father realized to his amazement one day, that she seemed to be trying to make ‘real’ music!  Since then, with her parents’ support, she has increased her musical knowledge and talent to the point where her last professional piano instructor declared that she needed no further instruction, and that she would do just fine with self-study. This opinion is confirmed by the above list of instruments that Annie plays! 

Annie owns most of the instruments on the above list, including microphones and other stage sound equipment. As well as performing a Duke Ellington number today, she played & sang a Janis Joplin tune as well! Annie’s final tune was played on her Mandolin, a Nova Scotia tune – the Florence Kellern Waltz.

Although Annie prefers Blues, Jazz and Rock, she is familiar with most other musical genres and always appears willing and able to learn!  No wonder the audience sat, totally spell-bound, following with enthusiastic applause!  

The Entertainment segment of our meeting was closed with Carol’s gentle, rhythmic hand-panning, assisted by tall, gallant Dave, on the violin.  And fortunately, one of our Board Members was able to video-tape most of the show!


We all welcome newly elected Board members:   Paola Levet; Lee Beauvais; Robert Lovely; Craig Shore. David Gillespie and Wes Mellors. who join the 10 re-elected Directors Patricia Robinson (Chair) Patricia Fitzgerald (Secretary) Brian Smith (Treasurer) Erin Burden, Frank Hollett, Debbie Scott, Bonnie Smart, Debi Andrews, Mark Andrews, Tim Brown.

Many thanks to all who provided food and gifts!





Past Events

Thank You

Paul Redchurch’s Art Show, “A Sharing of Life’s Gifts” ended on November 2nd, 2011. The proceeds, less Gallery fees, were generously donated to VHES at a time when rents, utilities and rates for water, sewer and garbage have risen at all our Greater Victoria houses. Thank you to all those who attended the Show, bought paintings from this versatile artist, and sent donations to us when they discovered our work for homeless people. Special thanks to the Times Colonist for an excellent article on Wednesday Oct. 5th. Titled: Solo Art Show proceeds go to Charity.

The Charity Golf Tournament at Northview on Saturday September 24th., 2011, was a great success. Thanks to all those who donated Silent Auction items and who entered the Helicopter Ball Drop. Thanks to The Prem Rawat Foundation for sponsorship, and thanks to all who took part and especially our Judith for her amazing organization of the Golf Benefit See Gift Exchange newsletter for further expressions of gratitude. We look forward to the 2012 Canadian Golf Benefit.