Vernon has been singing her praises for years, and now Coreen Smith is being praised around the province for her contributions to the choral community.
Smith has received the prestigious Herbert Kent award for choral teaching and excellence. The award recognizes long-term involvement in choirs and choral music and acknowledges faithfulness, commitment and responsibility as a choral musician.
Smith was presented with the award by the B.C. Choral Federation at the end of the final concert of its Chorfest weekend, which Vernon hosted May 15 to 17.
“The recognition comes as a tribute to someone who has worked tirelessly in this community with youth and adults alike to bring choral music into so many lives,” said Annie Powter, a member of the Chorfest committee. “Coreen, of course, was a major player in bringing Chorfest to Vernon as well.”
A music specialist at BX Elementary School as well as the founder and leader of Vernon’s Counterpoint Choir, Smith has been involved in choral music for 50 years as a choir member and soloist, and has been working with and training voices both in a solo and choral settings for the past 40 years.
“I feel very humble to have been chosen for this award as I think of how many other people there are out there that are deserving of it,” she said. “I am very appreciative of the people that nominated me for this award and recognized what I do in promoting choral music for both the children and adults in our community.”
Among her honours is helping to develop the Children’s Chorfestivity Choir, composed of students in Grade 4 to 7 from eight Vernon schools, one Kelowna school, and one from Salmon Arm.
Smith was among a group of dedicated teachers and directors who taught the Chorfestivity repertoire to their respective students during the fall of 2014 and winter of 2015, and 129 of those students performed at Chorfest in Vernon.
“Coreen’s enthusiasm, leadership, and hard work inspired others to support her unique approach to showcasing young voices,” reads the program for Chorfest.
“As music educators and choral directors we are always so busy thinking ahead to the next concert, or ‘what we have yet to do’ that we don’t take the time to reflect on what ‘we have done,’” added Smith. “I have been fortunate to have worked with singers and choirs in the capacity as a private voice teacher, school music teacher, choir director, clinician, and festival adjudicator in Alberta, Saskatchewan and for the past 23 years here in Vernon.”
Smith’s most recent milestone, five years ago, was receiving her master’s in music education with an emphasis in choral conducting.
“Wow, how time flies when you are doing something you love and are passionate about,” she said.