Quintet Plus choir conductor Laura Eilers won the Cariboo Festival’s choir conductorship award last week despite being nervous about the prospect of conducting a choir.
“When Quintet Plus asked if I would direct them back in August, I was a little hesitant because my focus is in instrumental and I had never directed my own choir, but I felt compelled to challenge myself and accepted the position,” Eilers says.
“This experience has challenged me at times, but we have had fun learning new songs, and different genres of music.”
Eilers was named the choir conductor of the Cariboo Festival last week by adjudicator Erica Northcott and presented with the award by Cariboo Festival president Ann Smith during the festival’s choir night Tuesday, April 8.
Northcott also awarded gold certificates to all of the choirs entertaining that evening — Quintet Plus, Cariboo Men’s Choir, Angelkeys Children’s Choir, and the Just for Fun Friday evening women’s choir that also won the high point adult choir award.
In addition to conducting Quintet Plus, Eilers is the music director at the Lake City Secondary School’s Williams Lake Campus.
Eilers grew up in North Vancouver, and started playing flute in her Grade 4 school band.
“I have always been a part of the music community, and I was part of various community bands around the city,” Eilers says.
After high school Eilers started studying for her degree in music education at Brandon University, Brandon Manitoba.
She didn’t find opportunities to play music in the Brandon community so after two years she switched her degree to the University of Victoria.
She graduated from the University of Victoria with a major in flute with a focus on music education and a year later earned her teaching certificate which allows her to teach music in the public school system.
She knows the basics on all the wind and percussion instruments, but says flute is her instrument major.
She started teaching music at the former Williams Lake Secondary School in January 2013 and this year is teaching music at both the Lake City Secondary Williams Lake and Columneetza campuses.
“I found myself in Williams Lake with a teaching job at Williams Lake Secondary School, now known as Lake City Secondary School, teaching band and other music courses,” Eilers says.