Singing together: fathers and sons in Chor Leoni

Within Chor Leoni we celebrate each other’s successes, console each other in times of sadness, and bask in the feeling of having 60+ brothers of all ages and life experiences. We think of ourselves as one big family, but for a few members, these aren’t just figures of speech. We’ve asked the fathers and sons that sing in Chor Leoni to share their experience with us.

First Tenors Together: The Holletts

The Holletts: Father Ken, and sons Corey and Noel

Father Ken Hollett and sons Corey and Noel are not only choir members, but also members of the first tenor section!

“When my sons were young, I could participate in their lives by going to their soccer games or leading their Cub pack,” says Ken. “Now that they are grown, singing with my sons gives me the opportunity to continue to be relevant in their lives. It gives them an opportunity to have a friendship with the man who raised them. The relationship we have with singing together is setting the course for a lifetime bond. As time goes along and we remember things we have done in Chor Leoni, I realize that we are creating great memories to share and be proud of.

Raising children is the true fountain of pride and joy. I am proud that my sons joined me in Chor Leoni. “Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.” At the same time, through watching them sing, I get to relive the joys of my own younger days.”

Corey Hollett says he feels privileged to sing alongside his brother and his dad. “We’re often quite busy during our daily lives, so to have a couple of hours carved out each week to sing side by side is a nice chance to check in and join in a shared experience. Not to mention, being able to tour together, be it to the island, or halfway across the world, is something that I don’t think many families get the chance to do. We’ve walked the canals of Venice, sung in castles, and brought all sorts of friends and extended family to local shows – how many people get to say that?”

Brother Noel Hollett adds, “Growing up watching our Dad in the choir, I always intended to audition once old enough. To sing in a choir like this with my Dad and my brother now for 14 years – it is an immensely special, shared experience; a communal place away from our independent careers and our busy lives where we come together – no matter how our days have been – and sing.  That feeling is one I make certain not to take for granted.”

A Family Tradition: The Jackmans

Mike and Shaun Jackman

Shaun and Mike Jackman have built a whole Wednesday tradition around singing together. “I sing in Chor Leoni with my father Mike,” explains first tenor Shaun Jackman. “Each week we share dinner together before rehearsal and chat. Our relationship is closer because of this regular time together, and I enjoy sharing this creative time with him. We’re both quite technical. He’s an aeroplane mechanic, and I’m a graduate student studying genetics. An artistic outlet is very important to me. It helps clear my head, focus on something beautiful, and relieve me of stress. The men of Chor Leoni are wonderfully diverse in age. I can’t think of another situation in my life where I spend time hanging out socially with guys both nearly half my age and over double my age. I’ve sung with the choir for nine years now, and I plan to continue singing with them indefinitely. It would make my heart sing if my two-year-old son, Jake, named after my father’s father, continued the tradition by joining Chor Leoni himself one day.”

Shaun’s dad, baritone Mike Jackman, adds, “BK (before kids) #1 son, Shaun, and I would meet up after work for a quick pre-rehearsal meal in Kerrisdale, and if time permitted maybe a coffee. We got to know some interesting restaurants in the area. AK (after kids), the Wednesday schedule has changed – I usually go to their place in the morning to provide my daughter-in-law Liz some kid-free time and then cook dinner before Shaun and I head off to choir.

I really enjoy the time we share together to discuss whatever – work, family, politics, the latest in Scientific American and, of course, Chor Leoni. We’ll share thoughts on the evening’s practice on the drive home and then maybe a brandy at their place with the kids sound asleep.”

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, guys, and Shaun – Erick looks forward to Jake’s audition in 17 years or so!

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