ABOUT US

LEROY WIENS ~
CONDUCTOR AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Leroy Wiens, is the founding conductor of the Okanagan Festival Singers. Under his direction for over 30 years, this auditioned Okanagan based choir has developed into one of the premier choirs in the B.C. interior.

Leroy earned a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Oregon. He has studied with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival, and noted Canadian conductors William Baerg, James Fankhauser and Wayne Riddel. He also earned undergraduate degrees from the University of British Columbia (Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Winnipeg.

Leroy has guest conducted for the Okanagan International Festival of the Arts, Viva Musica, Kelowna Mozart Festival and the B.C. Choral Society. As founding conductor of the Kelowna Community Chorus, he directed this one-hundred voice non-auditioned choir for 20 years. He also has led numerous church choirs and has held the position of Assistant Conductor with the Vancouver Cantata Singers.

In 2010 he was the recipient of the Arts Educator award from the Central Okanagan Arts Foundation for excellence in arts education. He recently retired as a music specialist from the Central Okanagan School District.

URSULA PIDGEON ~
ACCOMPANIST

Ursula has been the accompanist for the Okanagan Festival Singers for three seasons. Prior to that she sang with them from 2010-2012. She earned her Bachelor of Music Degree in piano performance from Queens University Kingston Ontario. In 2010 she and her family moved to West Kelowna, and she became faculty at the Kelowna Community Music School, where she teaches piano and composition. Ursula’s students have won KCMS composition competitions for 5 years running, including the last two years, where two students have achieved the top Composition prizes at KCMS Canada Music Week Competition.

Ursula enjoys collaborative music as an accompanist to soloists and ensembles, including KCMS Youth Choir, and previously, Kelowna Community Chorus and Kelowna Liedertafel. Wearing a different ‘hat’ as a contemporary Inspirational singer/songwriter, Ursula has just completed her first full-length CD entitled ‘Deeper’, which was recently released on CD and online

Our History

The OFS was founded by Leroy Wiens in the spring of 1986 for a performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Elmer Iseler Singers of Toronto. This was such a wonderful experience that the choir decided to continue and has been making inspired music ever since. Our dedicated, auditioned members attend weekly rehearsals from as far south as Penticton and north to Vernon, and all points in between.

The OFS repertoire includes large classical works, such as Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and Haydn’s Creation, to name but a few. The choir also performs many a cappella pieces, music by Canadian composers, and musical works from the 14th to the 21st Centuries. Special concerts for children include a Children’s Messiah complete with puppets and opportunities to sing along, and Handel’s The King Shall Rejoice complete with coronation!

For the past several years, the OFS has participated in regional choral festivals and community events. OFS has shared the stage with other choirs, such as the Amabilis Singers from Vancouver, the Yume Women’s Choir from Japan, and Serious Options of Kamloops. In June 2017 they hosted the internationally celebrated Elektra women’s choir from Vancouver.

We look forward to seeing you at our Messiah Concert on December 1, 2018.

Our Mission

The Okanagan Festival Singers’ Mission is to provide opportunities in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley for the performance, appreciation and enjoyment of choral music. We will promote, organize and encourage choral music through performance of choral works and in the presentation of choral concerts, bringing the experience of great choral music to the Okanagan.

Under the direction and guidance of Leroy Wiens, the OFS has developed into one of the foremost choral ensembles in the BC Interior. They have created their own unique place in the hearts of Okanagan audiences with their baroque performances of Handel’s Messiah.

Board of Directors

  • President: Mike Budd
  • Vice President: Avril DeJong
  • Secretary: Carole Courtney
  • Treasurer: Gay Corbett

Members-at-Large:

  • Linda Hawker
  • Suzen Marshall

Artistic Director:

  • Leroy Wiens

Messiah Concert
December 1, 2018

This December 1st the Okanagan Festival Singers under Leroy Wiens  are proud to perform Handel’s beloved ‘Messiah’, featuring a return of the Okanagan Festival Camerata orchestra led by Nancy DiNovo, and acclaimed soloists. This is usually a sellout event, so watch this site for upcoming ticket information.

Saturday Dec 1, 7:30 pm
Willowstone Academy,
4091 Lakeshore Rd,
Kelowna, BC


Bach – Mozart