In 1984, as an extension of the music program offered by the Strathcona County Board of Education, Loretta Baker formed the Strathcona County Honour Choir for singers aged 10-14. By 1994, the choir had grown from 21 to 72 members. However, with the reduction in funding to all school boards, the Strathcona County School Board could no longer fund the Honour Choir Program. With the threat of elimination of the choirs, it was taken over by a parent association. At the same time, the school board districts were changed by Alberta Education and the choirs began operating as the Elk Island Regional Honour Choirs Association. That same year, Monica Dear founded a Youth Choir for singers aged 14-19 as a natural progression for the grade nine students graduating from the Honour Choir. In September of 1998, Barbara Sadler-Wells founded the Junior Choir for students aged 7-10 as a preparatory group for the Honour Choir.
Currently, the Elk Island Choirs are comprised of the Junior Choir, Intermediate Choir and Senior Choir. Most of the members come from the 44 schools in the Elk Island Public School system.
Each year, the choirs have hosted Christmas and Spring concerts and performed at a variety of public functions including the opening ceremonies of the Western Canada Summer Games, the Festival of Trees, the Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair and at nursing homes, schools, churches and the Alberta Legislature. Since 2007, the choir has presented the Imagine concert, a fundraising concert to benefit local youth charities. Members have attended workshops, retreats, music festivals and toured to a variety of locations, including Vancouver, Banff, Whistler and Kamloops.
The mission of the Elk Island Regional Honour Choirs Association is to promote excellence in musical education by establishing and maintaining choirs composed of gifted, interested children selected through an audition process. The artistic objectives of the association are:
Facilitate the instruction and training of the members of the choirs in both the theoretical and practical principles of music, particularly choral music and its performance.
Facilitate choir performance and participation public or private functions, festivals or competitions.
Promote, preserve and enhance singer and audience lifelong appreciation for choral music.
The Elk Island Regional Honour Choirs have been blessed with dedicated conductors, accompanists, choir managers, parent Board Members and volunteers who have guided the group since 1984.
The Elk Island Regional Honour Choirs Association would like to thank the following for their continued support: