Denis Donnelly – Throughout human existence, the poetic tradition has flowed on with us and under us, defining and refining deeper currents that are often hidden as we live our daily lives.
How does it do this? Our own cultural approaches to poetry have often not helped us to drink from poetry’s deeper springs. We will explore some ways that poetry can enrich our spirit and enliven our transitions.
Our speaker, Denis Donnelly, was born in Scotland, but moved to Canada as a young child. He got involved in folk and choral music in the early 1960s, eventually graduating in 1977 from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Mu-sic Degree. After graduation he became Director of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, leaving in 1999 in or-der to pursue his own creativity.
Denis is a songwriter and poet, and also plays guitar, Irish harp, and piano. He is director of Soundings, a twenty-eight-voice vocal ensemble, and co-director of the Gettin’ Higher Choir and the highly successful Community Choir Leadership Training Program. In 2011 Denis was awarded the Herbert Drost Award for distinguished service to choral music by the BC Choral Federation.
For many years Denis accompanied the poet David Whyte on his tours to Ireland, where he also met and became friends with the Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue. Those experiences and others led Denis to explore deeply the meaning of poetry in his own life, and the deep resonances between poetry and music.
Denis now leads courses and workshops in poetry, where he seeks to bring others into an awareness of the wisdom that is expressed through the poetic tradition.