Four-part harmonies can be heard throughout the city as the Fernie Community Choir has begun its fall meetings.
David Pasivirta, the music teacher at both Fernie Secondary School and Isabella Dicken Elementary School, has led the choir since he started it in January 2014.
Pasivirta is passionate about his most valued instrument: his voice. He was an active member in his high school band and choir, and his music teacher John Trepp inspired him to go on to become a music teacher himself. During his years at Trinity Western University, where he majored in voice, he became a guest vocalist with the Vancouver Chamber Choir.
Eventually, Pasivirta moved to the Kootenays and was more than happy to add his voice to the Fernie community.
The name Fernie Community Choir in itself is meant to be an ode to how much Pasivirta believes in the power of the voice.
“The thing about starting a choir is that I think there’s a fear in putting your voice out there and being vulnerable like that,” explained Pasivirta, adding, “that vulnerability creates community. When you take risks with a group of people and let a part of your person out there, trust grows and people begin to care about each other.”
Pasivirta went on to say that the choir is meant to be for the community of Fernie, but it’s also meant to represent “the sense of community that gets created within the choir.”
Pasivirta continues to look for new voices to add to the choir, and noted that 10 new people have already joined this year.
The choir will be covering a variety of songs and genres including African-American spirituals, Latin, Renaissance, madrigals, Canadian folk songs and pop tunes.
A variety of traditional Christmas songs will also be added to the choir’s repertoire as they prepare for their annual Christmas concerts.
In addition to an adult choir, which meets at 7 p.m. on Sundays at The Arts Station, a youth choir meets earlier from 5:45-6:45 p.m., and currently have 10 youths aged 9-14.