Diane Loomer, a 1962 alumna of Gustavus Adolphus College and one of Canada’s most distinguished musicians, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree at the College’s May 27 Commencement ceremony in honor of her outstanding career and contribution to choral music and the education of students over the course of several decades.
Loomer is the founder and artistic director of Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, co-founder and conductor emerita of Elektra Women’s Choir, and most recently founder and conductor of EnChor Chamber Choir, all of which are based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her choral compositions have been published and recorded internationally, and she frequently appears on CBC national radio as a spokesperson for the classical arts. She has also taught on the music faculty of the University of British Columbia and Douglas College.
The first woman to conduct the National Youth Choir of Canada, Loomer received the Healey Willan Award in 1990 for her service to choral music in British Columbia. In 1994, she was named YWCA Vancouver’s Woman of Distinction for Arts and Culture and in 1997 and 2004 received distinguished alumni awards honoring her achievements. In 2002, she was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for her significant contribution to Canada’s culture.
In 2003, Loomer was appointed by the University of Victoria to the University Women’s Scholar Lecture Series and in 2005 was appointed conductor emerita at Dalhousie University. In 2008, she was named a Paul Harris Fellow to the International Rotary Foundation for her tangible and significant assistance for furthering better understanding among peoples of the world. In 2010, the Association of Canadian Choral Communities presented her with their Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her work promoting choral music in Canada. In 2011, Loomer was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from the University of British Columbia.
Under Loomer’s direction, Chor Leoni, which translates to “choir of lions,” has catapulted to national and international fame. The ensemble has won many awards at the national level and has represented Canada in the BCC’s Let the People Sing international choral competition. They perform regularly with Vancouver ensembles and orchestras, tour nationally and internationally, and have recorded several national broadcasts. The choir’s Yuletide Fires CD was voted the Outstanding Choral Recording of 2004 by the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, and won a Western Canadian Music Award as the 2004 Outstanding Classical Recording.
Loomer will be presented her honorary degree by President Jack R. Ohle at the College’s commencement ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 27.
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