Updated: Jul 20, 2021
Bev Swan March 16, 1946 – July 5, 2021
Today it saddens us to say goodbye to a woman of influence in Chinook Winds Chorus. Nearly 50 years ago Bev moved to Calgary from Southern Ontario and soon after joined our local Sweet Adeline Chapter. In short order she involved herself in chorus activities. She had a very creative outlook on life and was happily involved in all aspects connected to performing. Costuming, sound and lighting, choreography and production performances. She had a velvet voice that lent itself to magical MCing and a dry wit that translated to audience approval and accolades from all. She worked at the chorus level and the regional level; and her greatest joy was directing the chorus (1981-1989) to reach their highest levels of the time and take Chinook Winds into the international arena. She was the first Championship Director of Region 26 "Sparkling New in '82". She will be remembered for her "isms" and we reached a point where we could repeat her words back to her verbatim. What fun Bev had, creating and building and pushing the envelope, in the hopes that innovation would be considered one of our strengths that the chorus could build on for a long future.
We are happy to say that her wish came true and we have happily followed her lead and continue to test new waters and tackle new challenges in order to learn and grow. The chorus that Bev was instrumental in growing missed her when she moved to the Okanagan but we were happy to reunite at the events that brought us all together in the first place.
Bev had, as so many creative people do, a grace in movement and presence and we always felt a little in awe at her presence. Her culinary skills were also awesome and some first learned, from Bev, that you could actually eat flowers. Who knew! Whether it was a cake or a casserole or a salad the presentation was always "the thing"!
Her move back to the Okanagan took her close to her roots in Penticton and the White Sails Chorus in Kelowna happily took her into their fold. She enjoyed several more years of harmonizing and made many new friends in this lovely new group. Gerry, her life partner, journeyed with her through the joys of travel, the fun of snowbirding and delight of gardening in the heat of the OK. Knowing that she was happy made her absence a little less sad.
As we have come to know life can imitate a roller coaster and it became apparent that life was not all that smooth. We learned the disease of Alzheimer's had invaded her and we were incredibly saddened that this should be the case. Bev continued with the same grace and grit that she had faced all of life's challenges and, with Gerry by her side, was able to continue to enjoy her home and surroundings until the last week in June 2021. It then became clear that more help was needed. There are some mysteries of life we will never understand as after two days of being away from her home and life with Gerry she suffered a massive stroke and never recovered. If we can believe that there is a place for creative souls to go and rest, eternally, she is headed for a place that is filled with friends and musicians who will be waiting to welcome her.
Michael (Son) was able to be with Gerry in Kelowna to share Bev's last days. Becky (Daughter) has been working with USA and Canada Border control to get her family up to Kelowna. Everyone has stayed connected and Bev, we hope, has been at peace. Becky shares that one of Bev's lasting memories was being a director and whenever the song Bridge Over Troubled Waters would play she would direct the music and sing along with great zeal. Her last creative action in the past year which brought her great joy was the art and colours of mandalas. We also hope that gave her strength to face her final transition. We will miss knowing you are no longer with us on Earth, Bev. We hope you find the view of Earth's creation a beautiful thing.