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'Very, very grateful': Victoria resident appointed to Order of Canada

Madeleine Humer – choral director, soloist and Victoria Children's Choir founder – is recognized for her outstanding achievements
Madeleine Humer has been appointed the Order of Canada for her work as a mentor and music educator in choral conducting.

As announced Thursday, a choral conductor and music educator from Victoria has been appointed to the Order of Canada, a list which also honours Avril Lavigne and Stephen Poloz.  

Madeleine Humer was one of 83 new appointments, due to her achievements as founder and past artistic director of the Victoria Children's Choir, as a mentor, and as an admired soloist who specializes in Baroque music and performs on stages worldwide.

"I'm very, very grateful to the people that nominated me and who felt that it was worth it to recognize, to bring the arts forward in such a way," Humer said.

Humer grew up singing classical repertoire at school in Victoria and was fascinated by it from a young age.

Her work as an educator and choral director at Glenlyon-Norfolk School, as well as her exceptional abilities as a professional soprano soloist, led to opportunities for the choir with Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera Victoria.

When these organizations had difficulty getting funding to use an independent school choir rather than a public or community choir, Humer started the not-for-profit Victoria Children's Choir in 2001.

In her 20-year run as director, Humer fostered the vocal abilities of hundreds of Victoria children, creating opportunities with the Victoria Operatic Society, the Victoria Symphony, the Pacific Baroque Festival and more. Funding allowed them to go to festivals and competitions around the world.

"The kids really loved it; they just loved singing all this classical stuff. It wasn't just music that was easy and popular, but I chose some really challenging music that was going back to the Reformation and Renaissance," she said.

The choir became internationally known, placing first in the Treble category at the Summa cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna in 2011, and celebrating Canada's 150th birthday with a Maritime Tour in July, 2017. 

It wasn't the outcomes that were important to her, but rather fostering a sense of confidence in young kids and building relationships, Humer said.

"It's the depth of relationships that you know will be there, no matter what these kids do, and that what you hope you've given them will stand them in good stead in whatever they do, because you've given them some good values. It's about creating something to share."

Apart from her impactful work with children, Humer worked with other choirs in Victoria, including the Cathedral Choir. She was also a former University of Victoria student, and performed as a concert soloist for many years at the Church Music School in Vienna, Austria, where she completed her music degree.



Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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