Congratulations Jo-Anne Preston, Recipient of the Herbert Drost Award

BC Choral Federation Herbert Drost Award


In her own words Jo-Anne Preston says that “choirs bring people together like nothing else can” and that “choirs are like family”. Since moving to Campbell River in 1978 to teach high school band and choir, Jo-Anne has been bringing people together and helping create choral families throughout the mid to north island. While her resume is  impressive in and of itself, it is her willingness to jump in to help any choir when there is a need, that makes Jo-Anne especially deserving of this award. In retirement Jo-Anne continues to sing in two choirs, is on the board of both, conducts a seniors choir, and has taken on directing other choirs in times of need. Whether it is preparing a score for rehearsal, looking for a performance venue, or stepping in to direct or organize, Jo-Anne’s friendly, respectful manner is what makes her such an important and much loved member of our choral community. 


As director of Campbell River Singers Jo-Anne was alway positive and not afraid to challenge us. As president of the board I found her easy to work with as she was always organized and prepared. This year when our current conductor had a family emergency Jo-Anne stepped in to help. That is Jo-Anne. I think very highly of her.

Diana Eckford (Campbell River Singers)

Jo-Anne Preston is a gem. Not only is she a beautiful soul, but she has a passion for choral music that is otherworldly! Jo-Anne, a retired music teacher, music theatre volunteer, board member and accomplished soprano, has been involved with musical endeavours her entire life. She is the only original member of Island Voices still singing with the choir after 25 years. Jo-Anne makes every effort to support all members of the musical communities with which she is connected. If there is anyone deserving to be recognized for her choral contributions, it is Jo-Anne Preston.

Lorill Vining (past singer and board president of Island Voices)

Jo-Anne Preston has been a most appreciated part of life since I moved to the North Island in 1978. I played piano for some of her school musicals and played cello at her choir concerts. We were part of a madrigal group that later became Island Voices. Jo-Anne stepped in when our conductor became ill and continued the choir with the same vision and goals even taking us to Kathaumix’w. As our director she was always prepared, kind and encouraging. Jo-Anne stepped up when a conductor was needed on Quadra Island, travelling an hour each way to ensure that we were able to continue singing until we found someone closer. Next week I will be playing my cello with her seniors choir at Berwick, an assisted living facility, returning where I began with Jo-Anne, 45 years later.

Joyce Baker (pianist, singer with Island Voices, cellest)

I have known Jo-Anne Preston since 2019 when I first became a member of Island Voices Chamber Choir. I soon learned that Jo-Anne has been a member of Island Voices since its inception 25 years ago. Jo-Anne has served the choir and its members in numerous ways. Not only is she a gifted soprano and talented conductor, but she has been an ardent member of the board, serving in many capacities. Jo-Anne is passionate for Island Voices and its commitment to sing excellent music excellently. She works tirelessly to support its members and the choir at large. In short Jo-Anne lives and breathes Island Voices and this is why I believe she deserves to be nominated for the Herbert Drost Award.

Shannon Frappier (Soprano and board member Island Voices)

I joined Island Voices in the fall of 2021. WIth Jo-Anne’s encouragement, I decided to let my name stand for election as President, in its 25th year. (2022/23) Being new to both Island Voices and Campbell River, I knew I needed a good mentor for this important role. Jo-Anne is that person. She has spent countless hours with me, patiently answering questions, guiding me through ‘what’s next?” as we prepare for concerts, and introducing me to other key people in the region’s choral community. Our current Music Director Dr John Hooper remarks, “Jo-Anne epitomizes the model choral singer through her diligent preparation, shining facial expressions, connection with the conductor, and engagement with the audience.” My dream for the Island Voices Chamber Choir is for Jo-Anne to be able ‘retire’ from the board in full confidence for its future, and simply sing with us.

Pam Gregg  (Alto, and current President of the Island Voices Chamber Choir Board)

Choir Biography

  • UBC(1973-76): Choral Union, Collegium Musicum 
  • Campbell River High School and Elementary School choir teacher 
  • Campbell River Singers:1979-1984 and again in 1990’s-2000 stepping in as needed when the current conductor had a family emergency. 
  • Vancouver Cantata Singers 
  • BC Choral Federation: Former Board Member and currently on planning committee for Chorfest 2023 
  • Island Voices Chamber Choir: For 25 years! 
    Founding member 
    Continuous board member 
    Conductor 2006-2014 (taking over from Frances Keen when she became ill) Including taking the choir to Kathaumix’w (2008) and placing 2nd in the chamber choir category 
    Touring the North Island 
    Currently singer and board member 
  • Coaching High school choirs  2018-2019 
  • Coordinating with Kathaumix’w to host touring international choirs coming to Campbell River 
  • Comox Valley Youth Music Camp(CYMC) Supporter and singer with summer choirs 
  • North Island Choral Society, singer, board member, and conductor on request as needed 
  • Quadra Singers Conductor, spring 2022 
  • Current conductor of Campbell River Berwick Seniors Choir