Music at north shore unitarian

Music is a deep source of joy and an integral part of Sunday services at North Shore Unitarian. Many members perform choral or instrumental music, and no service is complete without hymns sung by the whole congregation.

Our program offers two adult choirs, a small instrumental band and many opportunities to perform at regular church services and special events. The choirs welcome new members at various times during the year.

Music Director Alison Nixon

The music program is led by Alison Nixon.  Alison trained as a violinist in the UK and the International Menuhin School in Gstaad Switzerland, and in Choral Conducting with Professor James Fankhauser at UBC. Alison has performed with orchestras in Britain, Switzerland and Vancouver.

With over 30 years as a choir director, she has conducted and toured with many choirs, including the Douglas College Community choir, The Nota Bene Women’s ensemble, the Vancouver Orpheus Male Choir, and the Bowen Island Community Choir.  Alison currently conducts Summer Choir at St. Andrew’s Wesley Church in Vancouver during the summer months.

Alison welcomes all to our music program:

Welcome everyone, beginner and experienced alike. We accommodate every skill level, and you’ll have a lot of fun while improving your capabilities. A varied and dynamic music program such as we have at North Shore Unitarian can only happen in an environment of joyful creativity, and steady commitment. I would like to thank the many individuals who make this ministry possible, whether participants, audience, or supporters within our community.


Accompanist Toby Aldren

The North Shore Unitarian music program is supported by Accompanist Toby Aldren. Toby is the pianist for Richmond Chorus and has served as a choral accompanist for events sponsored by the BC Choral Federation. He teaches piano and theory at his studio in Kitsilano.

The Choir

Our main adult Choir is a group of some 45 dedicated and talented singers who rehearse Thursdays from 7-9 pm. The repertoire ranges from Bach to Gospel, to the best of contemporary music. Alison selects the music to both enhance the services, and challenge the choir members to develop their skills. Practices are challenging and fun, with lots of laughter and time for chatting before choir, and during the break.

The choir sings at least one anthem for church services roughly every two weeks, an entire choral service at the beginning of December, a fairly traditional Christmas Eve service, and a major choral concert usually in late May or June.

The choir has performed Vivaldi’s Gloria, the Mozart Missa Brevis, Jenkins’ Adiemus, and his Armed Man to audiences in the West Vancouver United Church, St. Andrews-Wesley, and the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC.

The Chamber Ensemble

For those eager to fine tune their choral singing skills, the Chamber Ensemble is a small group of 12-16 singers who work to bring to the services the great classical repertoire. Some reading and singing skills are necessary for participation in this ensemble.

This ensemble works with a little more depth to fine tune harmonies, ensemble singing, and interpretation.

This ensemble has sung Bruckner, Bach, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, and the works of many other great composers. Rehearsals are Thursdays from 6:15-7 pm, before our regular Choir practice.

The Advanced Instrumental Ensemble

We are privileged to have several highly trained musicians among our congregation. A few times each year they gather to rehearse and bring to the service some of the great instrumental works.

Works performed by the ensemble include Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Telemann’s Tafelmusic, and Bach’s Cantata Jesu Meine Freude.

If you play an instrument at grade 9 level or up, and would like to play in this ensemble, please contact Alison at 604-947-0120. We would love to have you join us.

The Band

Our congregation loves to listen to and sing a huge variety of music. We have a band to lead the congregation in their joyful and exuberant singing of our gospel, and contemporary hymns. For more information contact Alison at 604-947-0120.