Allison Houston is thrilled to be new Music Director of the WOLC. Allison grew up in the choral traditions of this country, as a member of the Saskatchewan Honour Choir, the Manitoba Youth Choir, and the National Youth Choir. She has been the Assistant conductor of the Manitoba Youth Choir. She has a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University, and completed her graduate studies at Arizona State University. Allison has been a professional soloist, chorister, accompanist, and classroom music educator. Allison was a chorister and soloist on CBC’s long running ‘Hymn Sing. Allison has soloed with the National Arts Center Orchestra in the ballet ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and has even had the opportunity to conduct the NACO during one of their Family concerts!
Allison is currently the Music Director of Stittsville United Church, where she has led services, concerts and musicals for ten years. She was the founding the Music Director of the Canadian Military Wives Choir and led them for ten years. Allison is also an active member of Kanata Theatre, where she enjoys both performing and Music Directing. In what spare musical time she has, Allison loves to fiddle at various celtic sessions in Ottawa and area. She is very much looking forward to getting to know and make great music with the members of the West Ottawa Ladies Chorus.
Lanark-based jazz and blues pianist/singer Peter Brown has performed at the Ottawa jazz festival nine years running.. He has toured with Canadian blues legend Dutch Mason, American blues artist Sherman Robertson and with former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, and was the keyboardist for Mumbo Jumbo Voodoo Combo for 17 years.
For many years, he has served as pianist/bandleader/arranger for the Mississippi Mudds theatre company in Carleton Place, accompanist for the Townsingers of Carleton Place and as pianist for the Stone Fence Theatre Company in Eganville.
His Peter Brown Quartet hosts two very popular monthly jazz nights in Carleton Place. He has released three jazz CDs under his own name, Marie-Claude, in 2002, Franklin Street in 2008, and Beautiful Love in 2014, as well recording with many other artists. His blues/rock band The Rockerfellas has just released their debut CD, The Rockerfellas in 2015.
The chorus originated from a group of 12 west Ottawa women who asked Music Director Robert Dueck to form an all ladies chorus in 2011.
Word of mouth and local media helped recruit additional singers to the newly established West Ottawa Ladies Chorus(WOLC). From the original 12 voices the West Ottawa Ladies Chorus has grown to 35-40 members in any given term.
The chorus members share a love of music and a commitment to excellence.
Performances have become known for their creativity, diversity of musical styles and artistic excellence
A resident of Stittsville since 2009, Robert brings a wealth of music experience having directed several community and church choirs. He has the gift of choosing music that is both a pleasure to listen to and musically interesting for the choristers and audience. He is delighted to work with the spirited voices of the West Ottawa Ladies Chorus.
Striving to maintain the "enjoyment of singing" atmosphere as well as to aspire to quality and professional standards, he finds it a personally rewarding endeavour. Robert’s observation is that singing together creates friendship, harmony and mutual enjoyment. Rehearsals are a relaxed and pleasant means of developing these skills.
Robert’s music training includes voice, piano and conducting, but professes to be a self-taught musician who has received his best training from the choirs he has been fortunate to work with. It has been said of Robert that ‘he knows how to make each one of us fit in and shine, and how to do this with cheer and good humour. Rehearsals, as well as performances, are a thoroughly enjoyable mix of instruction, discipline, friendship and laughter’. His passion for choral music is experienced by singers and audiences alike.
Robert announced his retirement in 2019; his last concert as director was supposed to be our Spring 2020 event. Sadly, that had to be cancelled because of COVID-19. The Chorus members are grateful for his leadership and inspiration, and wishes him all the best in retirement.
Sosun Suh was the director of The West Ottawa Ladies Chorus. ( 2020-2023) Sosun offered an impressive range of musical credentials and experience in leading choirs. She also had a joyous approach to music and her enthusiasm fitted well with the love of singing that the West Ottawa Ladies Chorus exhibits in all its presentations.
Sosun’s most recent work prior as a choir director was with the 65-voice Canadian Military Wives Choir in Petawawa which she led for four years. She also directed children’s choirs in both Toronto and Petawawa. Before emigrating to Canada in 2003, she was Second Concert Master and played the Korean violin known as a haegeum in the Gangwon Provincial Korean Music orchestra. She is also one of the directors of the Ottawa Children's Choir.
She has taught music in both public and private schools in Canada since 2006 and continues to teach both the Korean violin (haegeum) and flute (danso) here in Ottawa at the Korean Cultural Centre on Elgin Street.
Before leaving Korea, Sosun received her Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Music Education in Seoul, and once she had arrived in Canada she received certification in Early Childhood Music Education from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. As if that were not enough to keep her busy, not to mention the fact that she has a husband and three children, she also managed to study for and receive a Master of Religious Education at the University of Toronto.
Because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert Dueck's final season with the WOLC was cut short...no final concert, no farewell dinner. It was a sad way to end 8 wonderful years of shared music and learning. The women of WOLC wish Robert a wonderful next chapter in his life. We will miss him.
Vivian McLean presents Robert with a lovely gift at his home recently.
Robert looks delighted with his gift!
Choir member Debbie Trouten presents Robert with a card a lot of choir members contributed to.
This would have been Roberts comments given at the farewell dinner that wasn't able to happen.