Diane Loomer (Kolander)
(1940 - 2012)

Diane Loomer (Kolander)

Minnesota, United States of America
April 23, 1940

British Columbia, Canada
December 10, 2012

choral music
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1940 and raised in a musical family, Diane Loomer received her BA from Gustavus Adolphus College. After teaching high school math and English in the US and Germany, she relocated to Vancouver, BC with her husband Richard in the mid-1970s. There she began her studies in music theory, piano and voice at Douglas College, transferring to the University of British Columbia, where she earned a degree in music theory (minor in voice) in 1982.

Launching her choral conducting career at an age when virtually all other choral directors would be in mid-flight, Diane soon soared high, eventually reaching the very top strata of her profession. She has founded and directed four outstanding choirs (and co-founded/directed another) in a wide variety of voicings, fostering a love of singing in children, youth, adults and seniors.

In 1981 Diane formed the Douglas College Children's Choir and the Douglas College Community Choir, later renamed the Amabilis Singers. In 1987 she and Morna Edmundson co-founded Elektra Women’s Choir, an ensemble the two co-conducted and led to great acclaim for 22 years. In 1992 she founded the renowned Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, Canada’s premiere classical male choir, and in 2009 Diane formed her final ensemble, EnChor, an auditioned seniors’ choir.

In addition to her choirs, Diane led an active career as a guest conductor and clinician. In 1994, she was the first female musician to conduct Canada’s National Youth Choir. She was a leader and encourager of choral colleagues and singers alike. Mentorship of young choral musicians was important to Diane, and she established programs to nurture their development. As well as composing and arranging choral music herself, Diane gave great energy to promoting Canadian choral composers and left a prolific commissioning legacy. This work was further enabled through the dissemination of these works through her dynamic touring, broadcasting and recording practice, as well as establishing, with her husband Dick, Cypress Choral Music, a publisher of Canadian choral music.
Diane received the BC Choral Federation’s 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 honouring her achievements from Gustavus Aldophus College and Douglas College respectively . In recognition of her significant contribution to Canada’s culture, Diane became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1999 and in 2002 was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.
The following year, Diane 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, and in 2010 the Association of Canadian Choral Communities presented Diane with their Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her work promoting choral music in Canada. In 2011 Diane was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Letters degree from the University of British Columbia. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2012.

Diane’s love of music and deep belief that choral music could enrich everyone’s life infused all of her work. She loved her choristers as she sought to share the love she felt for the music introduced at rehearsal. This inevitably engendered the love of choristers for one another, and for Diane, as they created a close (but not closed) community. It radiated outward in a very palpable way at each performance, breaking the formidable “fourth wall” between performer and audience and drawing all together. Be the listeners many or few, the space cavernous or intimate, audience members always expressed the feeling of having been touched by the spirit and sound that she instilled in her choirs.

Diane is survived by her husband Richard, son Dan, grand-daughter Ella, and her choirs.

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Guest Book (122 entries)
Diane, continue to walk with us, don't let us ever forget what it is really about. love b.
bruce armstrong (former member)
December 10th, 2013
I had the great honour of sharing a room with Diane in hospital shortly before her death. I treasure the memory of our conversation when all the lights were out.
Anonymous Fan
September 10th, 2013
Hi Dick,

Sorry for your loss of Diane, I know my condolences are late , just read about it today. So Sad.

I check on Old Family Friends via the internet from time to time, Diane's Contribution to Music is timeless.

I can still hear her singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" , fond memory of my childhood.

We have old pics from Germany of you and Diane in black and white, looking at them now has More Meaning.

Love Ya Richard Loomer.

jeff klein
July 19th, 2013
Ensemble Etoile has made tribute to Diane's Goin Home by revisiting a few of her choral pieces at the last two concerts this year. I just finished conducting Away from the Roll of the Sea an hour ago. It brought me back to when Diane conducted the piece...Her gestures, her smile, her remarks just stays with me. Rest in peace, Diane. You are always remembered by our choir. Thank you!
Roseanna Chu (friend)
May 28th, 2013
I first met Diane as a student doing a research project supervised by her husband. I remember her bringing us chocolate chip cookies while we sat around her dining room table discussing our project with Dr. Loomer. At a much later Chor Leoni performance to celebrate the opening of the new Department of Physical Therapy at UBC , I re-introduced myself and said how much I enjoyed the performance.

A few minutes later she tapped me on the shoulder and handed me 3 of the choir's CDs and said she hoped I continued to enjoy their music. I will never forget that generous gesture and continued to attend the choir's performances and give their CDs as gifts.

She will be deeply missed.
Marie Westby
March 21st, 2013
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"Although I have never sung in one of Diane's choirs, I have been her sister-in-law for almost 50 years. She was a best friend and a model for living. My granddaughter said she thought the choir sounded like it would when Jesus comes back to earth."
Judy Giese
December 11th, 2013
"It was the Christmas season, 2004. Diane was acting director of Christ Church Cathedral choir and I was organist. I was grateful for her patience and encouragement, so lovingly given. I remember her fondly, especially at Christmas."
Ginger Shaw
December 10th, 2013
"Diane: such an amazing, loving, wonderful person even outside of the choral accomplishments! I always aspired to be more like you (not even close...). We miss you a lot but we're all keepin' on singing, as we know you are too. Much, much love."
Katie Longworth
February 10th, 2013
"Diane was the instigator who urged us to form an East Coast equivalent to Chor Leoni - Nova Voce, Nova Scotia's Men's choir has some 43 men now and has a well established reputation . We will miss her and her encouragement. Many thanks Diane ."
Duncan Miller
January 16th, 2013
"I will remember Diane from what I consider one of her favourite words-remarkable. She's left such an impression on me as singer and administrator; never hesitated to pass on her wealth of information for the musical and business side of the arts."
Maggie Van Seters
January 15th, 2013
"20 years ago, Diane invited me to audition for her new choir, Chor Leoni. For 20 years she inspired me to be a better singer, but more importantly, a better person through her example. I loved her like a second mother. Thanks for everything, Diane"
Mark MacDonald
January 13th, 2013
"I am thinking of Diane tonight as her memorial is being held at the Chan Centre. Attending Chorus America board meetings this weekend - we are all deeply saddened, but also grateful for the incredible contribution she made to so many over the years"
Leonard Ratzlaff
January 11th, 2013
"My six years singing with Elektra were the most special musical years of my life. I will never, ever forget Diane's beautiful face as she led our choir with love, grace and radiance. So, so special. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Heidi Allen
January 11th, 2013
"I consider it the greatest privilege and honour to have known Diane as a friend and musician. My only regret is that I lived on the wrong coast and I treasure those all too infrequent times when I was able to sing under her inspired direction."
Carolyn Nielsen
January 10th, 2013
"I dropped by one evening, I could hear the D.C. Amabilis Choir rehersing, I sat alone, oh how I wanted to sing, but had never, she turned around and invited me up on stage...She gave me such a gift 20 years of family and non-stop singing! B.A."
Bruce Armstrong
January 10th, 2013


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