7:30 - 9:30 PM, April 4th, (Monday) 2016

doors open at 6:30 PM

venue - Canadian Memorial United Church  (map here)

1825 W 16th Ave, Vancouver

parking is limited - but available throughout the neighborhood

In 1996 choir director, Larry Nickel, became discouraged with certain music “festivals” for the following reasons:

  1. 1)costly entry fees

  2. 2)a lack of “festivity”

  3. 3)an atmosphere of competition and tension, rather than joy

  4. 4)singing for two or three judges and a few chaperones.  Where were all the other choirs? - in a back room warming up, in a back room with an adjudicator or heading back home on a bus!

Sad fact: Choir members are so busy that they rarely have time to go and hear other choirs.

Believing that choirs can learn so much by listening to other choirs, Dr. Nickel decided to initiate SchmeckFest in 1996. “Schmeck” is a term German Mennonites once used to describe beautiful singing.  “Sing with schmeck!” meant to employ the full body and “mask” of the face - all the resonators - to create a resonant tone.  “Schmeck” also means “taste”.  In essence, “SchmeckFest” is a concert where choirs come to sing for - and experience (taste) the sounds of - other choirs. Choirs become the performers and also the most appreciative audience. Singing for people who truly know what it takes is really gratifying.

Nickel invited enough choirs to fill the 400 seat high school auditorium where he taught; twelve choirs. His own choir members became the hosts - meeting the buses - helping with parking - leading choirs to their assigned seats.  Everyone was in their unique uniforms. At the given time, 7:30 PM, one director went to the front and led all four hundred singers with a warmup.

The list of choirs, displayed on an easel,  indicated the order of the program.  Without the need for further direction, choirs came down from the audience in turn, gave a short intro, and sang two songs.

Two hours later twelve choirs had listened to eleven other choirs! The atmosphere of mutual admiration and support was palpable. Even beginner choirs were confirmed with enthusiastic applause by their peers.

Singers made new friends and asked, “When is the next SchmeckFest? This was so much fun!”  While traveling home on the bus, singers would talk with their director and say things like, “Did you hear that choir from Langley? They could actually sing a pianissimo!” or “I loved that song.  Can we do it next year?”  Remarkably, choirs returned the following year with significant improvements.

Schmeckfest: no formal adjudication, great singing, a relevant learning opportunity, a jam packed two hour experience, new contacts and friends, directors pick up new repertoire ideas; a real celebration - a FESTIVAL!

Nickel left high school teaching in 2003 to earn his doctorate in composition and the festival was discontinued. Now that he directs the choir - the Jubilate Vocal Ensemble - SchmeckFest is back in operation, making its Vancouver debut in April, 2012. Choirs, all age groups, all levels of ability, all genres are welcome to participate. We are already receiving requests for SchmeckFest 2017.

We need only $2.50 per singer so we can cover rental of the facility.

interested? write Larry: