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Shaughnessy Heights United Church Sanctuary Choir

Music is integral to the life of the congregation at Shaughnessy Heights United Church, a means of both expressing the faith and experiencing the gift of the Spirit. The Sanctuary Choir provides music for regular Sunday worship (September through June), as well as for special services such as Remembrance Day, Tenebrae, and Lessons and Carols. Over the years, the group has presented its own concerts and has also collaborated in performances of larger works, including the Requiems of Mozart, Fauré and Brahms.

The Shaughnessy Heights Sanctuary Choir is committed to the best of sacred music, presenting works by composers such as Arnesen, Britten, Bruckner, Dove, Duruflé, Esenvalds, Gjeilo, Handel, Haydn, Honegger, Lauridsen, McDowall, Mealor, Messaien, Mozart, Pamintuan, Praulins, Rachmaninoff, Raminsh, Sisask, Stopford, Todd, Whitacre and Willan.

At present the choir consists of 35 singers, 5 of which are paid leads. The defining, galvanizing trait of this group is its deep desire to sing challenging, rewarding sacred music, knowing that all things are possible when we are of one heart, one mind… and a common work ethic.

Our rewards as members of a church choir consist of those exceptional moments of music-making that grace our worship and deepen our spirituality. The sublime beauty and expressiveness of extraordinary sacred music, we believe, can both strengthen our United Church community as well as transcend the boundaries of denomination, drawing us all together in God’s love.

Regular rehearsals take place Thursdays from 7:30-9:30pm. The choir generally gathers on Sundays at 9:00am to warm-up for our 10:00am service.

Past Highlights

December 2019

Lessons and Carols Service – Shaughnessy Heights United Church                                                                                                                                                                                            Music by: Warland, Honegger, Klimek, Lauridsen, Memley, Forrest


November 2019

Remembrance Sunday – Shaughnessy Heights United Church                                                                                                                                                                                              Music by: Arnesen, Guest, Jacobson/Emerson, Daley, and Lewis



Audio Sample: Partial recording of Sanctus (from Missa Brevis) by Jonathan Dove. Used with the kind permission of the composer and Edition Peters.

A musical summary of September 2018 – June 2019

The Sanctuary Choir sang a total of 104 anthems of which 28 were new to the group, including 2 world premieres: Blest Are They by Sam Dabrusin and Sowiet die Wolken wehen by Richard Froese.

Repertoire included music by composers such as Antognini, Arnesen, Biebl, Briggs, Bruckner, Bullard, Burchard, Dove, Esenvalds, Fauré, Forrest, Gabrielli, Handel, Haydn, Hayes, Hogan, Lauridsen, Martin, Pamintuan, Pousseur, Praulins, Rizza, Rutter, Stopford, Todd and Whitbourn.


January 2019

Ecumenical Week of Prayer – Shaughnessy Heights United Church                                                                                          Music by: Arnesen, Dove, Hagenberg and Pamintuan


December 2018   

Lessons & Carols Service – Shaughnessy Heights United Church                                                                                              Music by: Biebl, Forrest, Honegger, King, Lauridsen, Warland and Woo


November 2018 

Guest Choir: Fall Festival Concert – Cariboo Hill Salvation Army Temple, Burnaby                                                        Music by: Arnesen, Forrest, Hagenberg, Hayes, Parker, Stopford and Todd


July 2016

One of our most memorable highlights, undoubtedly, was our 2016 European tour which saw us singing in both Protestant and Catholic churches, cathedrals and monasteries in Austria, Germany and France. Anyone who has toured with a choir knows that it is an incomparable experience on a personal, social, musical, cultural and spiritual level. We sang in venues whose long history and beauty left us speechless; we learned what it means to know repertoire deeply for having sung it night after night; we made new friends and closer friends, and were recipients of unexpected generous hospitality; we came to realize that sacred music does indeed transcend nationality and denomination, and that our musical offerings were not only appreciated but deeply felt; and, finally, we realized how every moment of a tour abroad was a true gift for a Canadian church choir like ours.

Please click on the photos below to see their captions.

March 2016

Tenebrae Service – Holy Rosary Catholic Cathedral, Vancouver


December 2015                

Lessons & Carols Concert – Shaughnessy Heights United Church


March 2015

Tenebrae Service – Holy Rosary Catholic Cathedral, Vancouver


October, 2014

Thanksgiving Service with Amabilis Singers – Shaughnessy Heights United Church


May 2014

Concert – Holy Rosary Catholic Cathedral, Vancouver (Recorded live for Gloria CD)                                      Music by: Briggs, Dove, Forrest, Gjeilo, L’Estrange, Luengen, Mulet, Praulins, Stopford and Widor


June 2013 

Tour to Seattle – St. James Catholic Cathedral and St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral


January 2013

Mass – Westminster Abbey, Mission (Ecumenical and musical outreach)


May 2011

Mass – Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver


May 2011

Tour to Seattle – St. James Catholic Cathedral and Plymouth United Church of Christ


October 2010

Fauré Requiem with Phoenix Chamber Choir – Holy Rosary Catholic Cathedral, Vancouver


April 2009 

Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem with Amabilis Singers – Shaughnessy Heights United Church


April 2007 

Fauré Requiem with Amabilis Singers – Shaughnessy Heights United Church


April 2007

CD: Music for Holy Week                                                                                                                                                                                 Music by: Bach, Fauré, Handel, Hawley, Lotti, Mozart and Müller

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