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Gryphon Gallery: Madeleine (Groos) Humer

Madeleine Groos attended Norfolk House School (GNS) between 1955 and 1968, the daughter of David, Commander of the HMS Restigouche during WWII and politician, and Phyllis “Pep” Pooley, an old girl of NHS (1929 to 1935).

While at NHS, Madeleine developed a love of music, particularly singing. She became actively involved in the Conservatory of Music and Victoria Music Festivals. Her talent was recognised with numerous awards and scholarships in those earlier years. But she did not rest on her musical talent. During her final year at NHS, she was a prefect, Sr. Choir Capt., member of the Library Committee, French Club Executive, Social Service Club, Red Cross, UN Club and 2nd XI Field Hockey team.

She continued her education at the University of Victoria, studying music for two years and completed her music degree in Vienna, Austria at the Church Music School.

Upon her return to Canada, Madeleine taught music for two years at Cliffside Preparatory School on Shawnigan Lake, which is now the site of the Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan. Madeleine then spent three very successful years at Glenlyon School teaching Music, Choir and French while also being very active with the Cathedral Choir downtown. Her talents also extended to acting in the 1977 staff production of Happiest Days of Your Life, a hilarious farce depicting the complications of a boys school sharing the same premises with a girls school—which was not intended as a tongue-in-cheek preview of what could happen at the GNS Amalgamation ten years forward! It was during this spell that Madeleine also spearheaded the production of the vinyl LP recording of Glenlyon Sings.

After a number of years back in Austria, performing Baroque and Classical solos and teaching, Madeleine returned to GNS in 1987 with her two children Saskia and Patrick. During the next fifteen years, she took on various roles in the choral programme of GNS at the Junior Girls, Senior School and in collaboration with Michael Gormley at the Junior Boys. The choral programme blossomed into a wonderfully successful part of the school’s fabric, achieving terrific success locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. Her work with the GNS choirs was so successful that the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera gave hiring preference to her choirs anytime the repertoire called for a children’s chorus.

As can be attested to by her busy life during her graduating year at NHS, Madeleine’s energy has no boundaries. Since leaving GNS fifteen years later she founded and directed the Victoria Children’s Choir that performed on numerous occasions with the Pacific Opera, the Victoria Symphony and the Victoria Baroque Orchestra as well as at the 2010 Olympic Flame Welcome ceremony, the Royal Family Tour of Canada and the 2011 Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival in Austria. If that isn’t enough, she has been a director of the St. Christopher Singers, Linden Singers and Capriccio Vocal Ensemble. Finally, that leaves the door open for more to come, Madeleine has been quoted as saying: “Maybe I’ve still got something to say, something to add from my experiences, to help kids who might otherwise not get a chance to try out this stuff. ” Sing on Mad’!