Decades of archives potentially lost as Vancouver Chamber Choir office floods

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      The Vancouver Chamber Choir’s office was flooded last Friday (June 28), soaking a set of archives dating back to 1971.

      The flood was apparently caused by a burst pipe in the basement office of Hodson Manor, the heritage house where the choir resides. Administrative workers came to work last Friday to find the entire floor under four feet of water.

      The office is home to the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s archives, including compositions, music scores, photos, and records from the choir’s 48-year history. Among the collection were hundreds of original choral works by Canadian composers. It is unknown whether the collection can be salvaged.

      “The flood is devastating, but we intend to salvage what we can and work diligently to move forward with the upcoming concert season, as planned,” said the choir’s general manager, Steven Bélanger, in a released statement.

      A restoration team is at work sorting and cataloguing the contents of this office to determine what may potentially be saved. Insurance adjusters are also assessing the structural damange to Hodson Manor. 

      Bélanger says that the choir will remain focused on producing concerts for their 2019/2020 season, and onboarding their new artistic director, Kari Turunen, who is scheduled to replace outgoing artistic director and founder of the choir Jon Washburn.

      “It is heartbreaking to lose momentum at this point in our transition process,” says Bélanger. He adds that “though this flood has brought our office to a standstill, we hope that this event is just a bump on our historical timeline.”