Ellen Domm thinks Whistler's growing music scene could use one new addition: an a cappella group.
"I find it fascinating that you can blend sounds and make it seem like instruments are actually playing that," Domm says. "I just love that sound of rich harmonies."
To that end, she's putting a call out to musically inclined Whistlerites who are interested in joining her forthcoming group, Vocalicious.
"I'm looking for talented singers with good ears who can commit to rehearsing every week with the intent of performing in town," she says. "I think ideally you need to read music. I do want to learn music from published sources. Having a good ear for harmony is important and having a good, blendable voice."
Last year Domm retired from her work as a university professor and psychologist, in part because after moving to Whistler in 2012 it became challenging to manage a practice in the city.
"I'm fortunate enough to have retired at a relatively early age, but music has always been my passion," she says. "I just never considered making a career out of it as a young person. It didn't seem viable at the time. I think I did absolutely follow the right path for me professionally. I learned so much, met great people, did good work as a professor and therapist, so I'm really happy with that."
Now that she's retired, Domm is free to pursue music in a bigger way. She joined local choirs, took piano lessons—currently she's working towards her Grade 10 Royal Conservatory certification—teaches piano, sings with various bands in town and accompanies the choir at the Whistler Waldorf School.
"I'm a real worker bee and I need to be busy," she says. "It's time for me to do something that's mine. I want to not just join other people's group, but start one of my own."
While she's still at the beginning stages of putting the group together, she has some hopes for how it will unfold. Vocalicious can work with as few as three voices, but Domm can also accommodate up to 12 singers.
"If we find the right people and have the motivation and the focus maybe we can get something up and running for the Hear and Now festival in late September—I'm not sure if we could manage that, but we could try," she says. "The International Women's Day in March that I've performed in—I would like to make that a goal for this group to perform in. There are usually opportunities around Christmastime. I'd have to be somewhat conscientious about keeping track of the opportunities in the community and choose music that would be appropriate for different events."
She envisions tackling all sorts of music—but songs have to be recognizable, she says. "Pop and film music, standards, the kind of music that lends itself to lots of different vocal lines and that people will want to sit and listen to."
Domm plans to hold auditions for the group in mid-June, send those selected home with music to practice over the summer and then start rehearsals in the fall. "I think it'll be a blast," she says. "It will be challenging and really satisfying for people who love this kind of music and there's something really just uplifting and therapeutic about making great sound with other people."
If you're interested in learning more about the group email Domm at firstname.lastname@example.org.