The Story Behind the Songs
My love of music started at an early age, but not in the way you might expect.
Because my family immigrated from the Netherlands with nothing, I had my first formal lessons entering high school where I studied piano, voice and music theory and sang in school and community choirs. I sang solo in special events at church and school.
Eventually, the question came: can I actually do music as a career?
Yes. Yes I can.
Through the guidance of wonderful teachers, I gained a strong foundation to audition and study at UBC where I developed a keenness to compose for both solo voice and choirs. My earliest works were performed in the church and school setting.
After receiving my Bachelor of Music (BMus) and professional teaching certificate from UBC, I sang with the semi-professional Cathedral Singers in Montreal (Gerald Wheeler, organist and conductor) and gave private lessons.
Eventually, I settled down in Prince George, BC where I taught everything from private lessons to Kindergarten-grade 12 music and conducted adult, church and community children’s choirs.
Soon, it was time for a new challenge.
At first, my composing mostly consisted of creating pieces to help develop the skills of a particular group of singers or fit compositions with concepts and curriculum in school.
With more and more composing, I ventured into writing just because I was so enthralled with the creative process and hearing my pieces performed so beautifully by choirs across Canada and globally.
My work have been premiered and recorded by choral groups including Britain’s Gesualdo Six, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Scotland’s Voces Inauditae, New York’s Composer’s Choir, and Vancouver’s Chor Leoni Men’s Choir—to name a few.
I feel so honoured to have soloists and choirs perform my compositions. It's absolutely amazing to hear a performance of my own piece.
Today, I’m privileged to hear some of my own music as the artistic director for Vancouver Cansing Choirs and as the Artist-in-Residence at St Patrick’s Regional High School.
“Gerda so carefully handles the text, illuminating each word and phrase with grace.”
- Brian Stevens
“An achingly beautiful setting of O LITTLE ROSE.”
- Stefan Steininger, Canadian Music Centre
“...Gerda Blok-Wilson’s Lullay[,] My Liking is a refreshingly new setting of the very old favorite.”
- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
I’m open to arranging existing songs and hosting workshops and residencies.
Have a look through what works best for you and your choir.