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Staff Choir Gives Students a Special Winter Break Send-off

The students at Pemberton Woods got a special surprise on Friday at their last assembly before the Winter Break.
The newly formed staff choir, The Gryphonics, which is comprised of nearly 16 staff, put together their debut performance as a send-off for the Winter Break.

Led by Pemberton Woods Choral Director Amanda Chaval, the staff sang a rendition of Moonlight Sleigh Ride, which was suggested by Ms. Jamie Elbert. 

“It’s kind of like our little gift to the students,” said Ms. Chaval. “I personally tried to keep it a secret from the students, but I think most of them knew.” 

Ms. Chaval joined GNS four years ago, and starting a staff choir was on her radar, but with the COVID-19 restrictions and the busyness of teachers, it was all about the right timing. 

“Last spring I told people I was going to make it happen. I committed to doing it,” she said. “I knew this was something a lot of teachers would be interested in. A lot of teachers are pretty outgoing and artsy people.” 

Being able to teach adult voices was something Ms. Chaval was very excited about. 

“I love working with adult voices. It’s so different from working with Middle and Senior School voices, which is what I do all the time,” she said. “But, as soon as you get a group of adults singing together, the sound they can produce is way more, and of course, adults are very quick learners so it’s a completely different experience for me teaching music and running an adult choir.”

At the beginning of their practices, Ms. Chaval introduced songs by The Beatles and various other pop songs to create a fun atmosphere. 

“Some people in the group do have a lot of choir experience, and a few of them did choir in high school so they were quite comfortable with singing,” she said. “For others it was a brand new experience for them. So I wanted to make sure they were comfortable and having fun.” 

The choir meets in the choir room every second week on Tuesdays at lunch. 

“It’s a really great group that has joined,” added Ms. Chaval. “I really do believe singing is for everybody and it’s a really open group even if you don’t have any experience.” 

We can’t wait to see what’s next for the staff choir! 


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Glenlyon Norfolk School

Junior School (JK to Grade 5)

Middle (Grade 6 to 8) and Senior (Grade 9 to 12) Schools

We wish to acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-Speaking Peoples on whose traditional territory we stand, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and Wsáneć Peoples whose historical relationships with the land, where we live, work, play and learn, continue to this day.