The Folk Song Circle is and has been one of the most prominent landmarks in the musical world in our community for decades. Founded in 1961, several generations of enthusiastic musicians have joined this group of singers to give us thousands of hours of entertainment and good times. From the young to the old, at one time or another, we all have been entertained by their melodious voices.
Its current leader, Diane Dvorak, a member for more 40 years, has led the group since the early 1990s. She is considered by many to be one of the most musical persons in the Alberni Valley, not only for musical skills, but for her enthusiastic and dedicated work leading this group. She has followed the steps of several musicians who led and gave the group its unique character and identity the ensemble is known for.
“We sing for the joy of making music together by performing at many functions for a wide variety of organizations”, she says.
Dvorak, who was born and raised in Manitoba, comes from a family with history in singing for enjoyment. As a family group, they used to gather at social get-togethers to harmonize, play guitar, violin and piano on a regular basis.
Diane grew up singing in choirs and playing classical music. She also travelled with an award-winning pipe band as a Highland dancer.
In addition to her continuous interest for music, she decided to become an educator for young people and enrolled in university. She received degrees from Brandon University in Manitoba and University of Victoria in B.C.
The beauty of Vancouver Island was among the factors that attracted her to move to the west coast with her Czech husband Josef and to raise their family here as well as to teach.
Diane and The Folk Song Circle have practically performed at most major events in our community since its foundation: from social gatherings; seasonal celebrations; sports meets, to special big community programs, such as the welcoming of visiting cruise ship passengers to the Valley as well as entertaining the participating athletes of the Summer Games. Their singing voices are regularly heard at Christmas concerts in different city venues, Echo Centre, the craft fair at the Athletic Hall and at the train station, the Canada Day celebrations at Glenwood Centre, Harbour Quay, the Fall Fair; the ADSS Auditorium, etc, etc.
“I am very impressed with Diane’s memory”, says Coreen Hooper, a 10-year member of the group. “She remembers hundreds of songs we sing for various seasonal events.”
Their music is particularly enjoyed by the seniors who live a communal life in seniors homes in the Valley. They are entertained at almost every calendar celebration: from Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Robbie Burns Day, to Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. “The Folk Song Circle members enjoy singing lively music that brightens someone’s day,” says Dvorak.
Since her retirement, Diane has also been an active member of the Sunshine Club at Echo Centre, and, for many years, she has also been teaching ukulele to “an enthusiatic group of retirees”, as she puts it. In addition to her busy singing career, she enjoys gardening, Latin line dancing and dragon boating.
Currently, there are more than 20 members of The Folk Song Circle, who hold their weekly singing practices at Fir Park Village. “If you love to sing or enjoy playing an instrument, join us and join in the fun!”
For more information on the Folk Song Circle, please call Diane Dvorak at 250-724-3895.