Tuning into my Facebook account today, I just found out that Diane Loomer, my conductor and choral director, when I used to sing with the Amabilis Singers, passed away yesterday after a short illness. The last time I saw Diane was 2010, when I went to see the reunion Christmas concert from members of the choir and to shoot photography for the concert as a former member of the Amabilis Singers.
CBC - Arts and Entertainment article marking her life and passing.
Diane was a vibrant personality and she made everyone around her inspired by her love of music and choral singing. I can still remember "The Mahler Song" that the Amabilis Singers came up with on a whim while we were singing for the massed choirs with the Mahler 8th Symphony. That was a treat to do. I sang with the Amabilis Singers during my stint at Douglas College in 1990-1992 taking music. Unfortunately, I chose to get out of music (because I didn't have the talent in music) because I wasn't achieving the levels that others were capable of doing with a lot less effort.
When you create an image of someone, you never know exactly when you will have taken a "last photo" of a person. They had asked me to photograph Diane at the podium speaking and conducting the choir. These were the instructions given to me and as a former member of the Amabilis Singers I tried my best to follow them to the letter. I wanted to capture Diane at her absolute best, to capture her vibrant personality and I feel I succeeded in these two photographs of her.
The origin of these two photos came about when two years ago, I received an invitation to the reunion Christmas concert with the Amabilis Singers who were looking for singers to sing with their massed alumni choir. Unfortunately my voice had completely gone to "heck in a handbasket" after that and I was unable to sing. So I opted to photograph the concert instead in my capacity as a photographer.
Diane was happy for my new career path as a photographer (rather than a singer). Her words to me, if I recall correctly, were "everyone has their own path". Little did I know that I would photograph Diane Loomer for the first and LAST time that day. Yesterday I saw an obituary in the paper saying that she had passed away after a short illness. The choral community of British Columbia has sustained a heavy loss as she was an inspirational and joyful person who gave of her time and her efforts to improving the choral community.
This is a deep loss for the music community at large and for all those who have come into contact with Diane Loomer. But even more so is the loss of a wife to husband, Dr. Richard Loomer, and the loss of a mother to her son. She will deeply be missed.
I will choose to remember Diane in these two pictures, doing the things she loved and inspiring others to become the best that they could be in choral singing. I will remember my time under her tutelage as a choral singer and I will remember her in this way. A vibrant, caring instructor who lived and breathed singing at her absolute best when she was in front of a choir. A vibrant presence like hers will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace, Diane Loomer, you were loved and you will be missed deeply.